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Ginger-Orange Vegan Cheesecake with Poached Pears

Nisha Vora
This Ginger-Orange Vegan Cheesecake is a crowd-pleasing holiday dessert. Rich and dense and creamy, just like traditional cheesecake, but dairy-free and vegan. Make it even more elegant by topping it with poached pears!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 55 mins
Chill Time 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Baking
Servings 12 to 16

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 6-7 ounces (170g-200g) gingersnap cookies*
  • 1/2 cup pecans (can substitute walnuts)
  • A pinch or two of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil (can substitute another other neutral oil)

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (~200-210g) raw cashews, soaked in cool water for 8 hours or in boiling water for 1 hour
  • 1 cup (~240g) solidified coconut cream**
  • 8 ounces (227g) vegan cream cheese (about 1 cup)***
  • 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional but recommended)****
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Instructions
 

  • Preparation steps.
    1. Make sure you’ve refrigerated your coconut cream for 24 hours so that it is solidified.
    2. Soak your cashews in cold water for 8 hours or in boiling water for 1 hour. Drain the cashews and give them a rinse.
  • Prepare the pan. Set a rack in the lower middle position. Wrap an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan with a piece of aluminum foil, covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Repeat with another piece to be extra certain the water bath doesn’t leak into the pan.
  • Make the crust. In a food processor, blend the gingersnaps until they are finely ground. Then add the pecans, melted coconut oil, and a pinch or two of sea salt. Blend until the crust comes together and can be pressed between your fingers. Press into the bottom and sides of the springform pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C.
  • Make the filling. Add the soaked and drained cashews along with the coconut cream to the food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese. Add the cream cheese, coconut oil, lemon juice, sugar, arrowroot powder, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the orange zest, vanilla, chopped crystallized ginger, and fresh ginger, and blend again to incorporate.
  • Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the refrigerated crust and smooth out the top with a silicone spatula.
  • Prepare the water bath. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan or shallow baking pan that is large enough to hold the springform pan. Then pour a few inches of hot water around the bottom of the springform pan, taking care to not get any water in the cheesecake batter. This is a water bath and it will prevent the cheesecake from cracking in the middle.
  • Bake the cheesecake in the water bath in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until it looks a bit dry on the edges and jiggly but not wiggly in the middle. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30-60 minutes with the door just slightly ajar, or until it’s come down to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • When ready to serve, take the cheesecake out of the fridge for 15 minutes before eating. If desired, serve the sliced Poached Pears on top of the cheesecake and drizzle a bit of the poaching syrup on top of the pears and directly on top of the cake.

Notes

* This is equivalent to about 1 1/4 cups finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs.
** To solidify the coconut cream, refrigerate two 13.5 ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk for 24 hours. Most cans will yield 1/2 – 3/4 cup of solid coconut cream. You can also buy canned coconut cream separately.
*** If you don’t have access to vegan cream cheese, you can use just cashews and coconut cream. You’ll need to increase those amounts – I recommend adding an additional 3/4 cups cashews (for a total of 2 1/4 cups, or 305-315g) and an additional 1/2 cup coconut cream (for a total of 1 1/2 cups coconut cream, or ~360g g).
**** It’s very important to chop your crystallized ginger finely before adding it to the food processor. If you don’t, your food processor might have a difficult time processing it because it’s quite chewy.
Keyword cheesecake, Christmas, gingerbread, pears, poached pears
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