Substitution can be a slippery slope; especially when it comes to alternate foods. There are hits and misses. I am of the age to remember when “they” tried to tell us that carob was a no compromise substitute for chocolate. “They” were wrong. Then again, the right nut burger creates a righteous landing pad for mustard, pickles, etc. etc. in a comfort food that is familiar but not overreaching in its pursuit of satisfying that forbidden craving.
When we first moved to Nelson, we invited my wife’s aunt and uncle for Christmas dinner. We are vegetarian and they are not. Kim put together an array of mashed potatoes, grilled Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and more. The centrepiece of the meal was a savoury lentil loaf with miso gravy. On Christmas Eve we got a little worried that our guests may suffer from TWS (Turkey Withdrawal Syndrome), so we hurried to the Co-op to purchase an iconic meatless turkey substitute. When we got home, we removed it from the packaging to find a gray-coloured sphere. No matter how it tasted we had to make this thing look more festive; more familiar. I raced back to town to Eddy’s Musical Instrument store. I inquired about drumsticks. “What kind of sticks are you after?” The salesperson asked. “Dark ones” I replied.
Back at home I sawed the sticks in half, (otherwise our creation would look like a Christmas flamingo) while Kim whipped up cranberry sauce. We inserted the inverted drumsticks into the sphere and even put those twee socks and ribbons on the ends. Both Kim’s aunt and uncle had a drumstick for their Christmas meal. A tradition had been simulated, but to be honest, the lentil loaf was what everyone wanted seconds of.
All this is to let you know that you will be under no stress of any withdrawal syndromes if you serve your guests our co-op Vegan Cheesecake with Apple Cider Glaze. Our bakers start with a (wheat less) almond flour base, covered with a (dairy free) spiced cream cheese substitute, and topped with a (gelatin free) glaze of apple cider. I’ve told you three things that this cake doesn’t have, now here are three things it does have: taste, texture, and star appeal. In fact, there is a slice of star fruit floating in the glaze topping. In my many years of sampling foods for a selective diet, I have to say the co-op vegan cheesecakes strike that perfect balance of familiarity and flavor and are a pleasure unto themselves. This is a social cake. Serve it to a big crowd; even your cousin that has been harping on special diets since you were children. Be confident that no one will experience CWS (Cheesecake Withdrawal Syndrome) and everyone will be eyeing seconds.