An Honest Mistake

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I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my life.

Many of whom were the boys I dated. (Woof.)

A few of them were jobs. (Double woof.)

People I trusted.

Maybe a few outfit choices in my younger days.

And about a handful of some very bad haircuts.

But not all mistakes are bad. Some of my favorite mistakes often happen when I’m in the kitchen.

After a long day at work earlier this week, I was craving muffins. Looking around in my pantry I had a tart apple and some strawberries. I researched some recipes and found a gluten-free AND vegan recipe for strawberry and apple muffins. And as any person whose made a few mistakes in their past, this recipe had its own red flags.

First, it didn’t have any egg substitutes. Nor did it have enough fat. After following the recipe step by step, the consistency was quite dry. So dry that it wouldn’t even incorporate properly. I adjusted the fat content by adding some olive oil and a touch more maple syrup.

I baked off 12 of the muffins for about 30 minutes and the muffins just didn’t rise. The texture was off, a bit gritty actually. The flavor was on point, so I didn’t feel that it justified me throwing the entire batch away. Instead, I quickly went into Plan B mode and pulled the pre-baked muffin mess and greased a tart pan. Pressed the still-warm batter into the pan. Placed the crumb tart back into the oven for another 25-30 minutes. I waited till the crust was a beautiful dark golden brown and then pulled it out to cool. The resulting crumb crust was caramel-y buttery, light, sweet from the strawberries and perfectly tart from the apple.

I then prepped the cashew cheesecake batter and filled the cooled tart shell. I only placed the cheesecake in the fridge till it was just set. I topped it with freeze-dried strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. But you can add any topping to it. Date caramel would be amazing on this. Coconut caramel would be great as well.

Mistakes aren’t all bad, you see. This one was honestly quite delightful. And it didn’t leave me heartbroken or with a bad hair day.

Kelly Rae

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Strawberry Apple Crumb Cheesecake

FOR THE CRUMB CRUST 

1/2 C unsweetened almond milk 

2 t apple cider vinegar 

1/3 C maple syrup

1/3 C coconut oil, melted and at room temperature 

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1 t vanilla extract 

3/4 C coconut flour 

2 C almond flour  

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1.5 t ground cinnamon 

1 large tart apple, peeled and cut into medium dice pieces (about 1.5 cups)

1 C fresh strawberries, cut into small dice pieces 

FOR THE CHEESECAKE
INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 C raw cashews, soaked in boiling hot water for 1-1.5 hours
 
1 each large lemon, juiced
 
1/3 C coconut oil, melted
 
2/3 scant C full-fat coconut milk
 
1/2 C liquid sweetener, I used maple syrup but agave or honey works (if not vegan)
METHOD
FOR THE CRUMB CRUST
Preheat oven to 356°F and grease a tart shell pan.
Whisk together the dairy milk alternative with the fresh lemon juice into a large bowl, it’ll curdle a bit. Give it 3 minutes to sit. Add in the liquid sweetener, coconut oil and pure vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl mix together the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
Mix together the dry into the wet ingredients till combined.
Fold in the apple chunks and strawberries into the batter.
Press dough firmly into the tart shell.
Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven) or till dark golden brown and fully cooked through.
Allow to cool before transferring to a cooling rack.
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METHOD
FOR THE CHEESECAKE
recipe via Minimalist Baker
Blend all ingredients together in a high-quality blender till smooth. I don’t have a fancy Vitamix, so this took a few minutes of pulsing and stirring to get a nice smooth texture. You want it silky smooth. Add some more lemon juice to loosen it up if it won’t come together right away.
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Pour into your cooled tart crumb shell.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or till set. You can also keep it refrigerated overnight, but know that the shell will be a bit moist. (I’ve tried it after a night in the fridge and it tastes just fine but not as good with a firmer, drier crumb.)
Top with your desired garnish.
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