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Plant-Based 411
September 2015



Goodness Grapecious
By Nancy Eisman


Grapes


Remember when grapes were called red, green, and black, and cheese only came from a goat or cow? But that was then, and this is now. So courtesy of Melissa’s world of variety grapes, and creamy cheese from soybeans, here is my Seasonal Grape Cheesecake. This is the Plant-Based 411 version of the classic cheese & fruit course, followed by a luscious dessert, all together in one spectacular package.

Champagne Grapes


Grape varieties used in this recipe include Jelly DropsTM (dark, almost black, tasting like Manischewitz, but in a good way), < a href=/Candy-Sweets-Grapes-p/1484.htm>Candy Sweets (green and petite), Red Muscato (red and awesome), and Champagne (super tiny and cute). Other varieties available from Melissa’s include Red Candy Sweets, Green Muscato, Black Muscato, and Witch Finger. A blend of tofu and dairy-free cream cheese is the base for the filling, and the crust is a mix of graham crackers and Melissa’s Almond Clean Snax®.

Fresh, cold, crunchy seasonal grapes simply eaten out of hand are more than delicious on their own, but keep them in mind for sweet and/or savory salads, and desserts of course. And if you’ve never enjoyed a snack of frozen grapes (freeze individually on a parchment paper lined sheet pan), which taste like little orbs of grape sorbet, what are you waiting for? Go get your grape(s) on!

Seasonal Grape Cheesecake

16 whole Graham Crackers


16 whole Graham Crackers
½ container Melissa’s Almond Clean Snax®
8 tablespoons Butter, softened (I use Earth Balance)

2 (12 ounce containers) of Melissa’s Organic Firm Silken Tofu, drained
¾ cup Sugar
12 ounces Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
1 Tablespoon Pure Almond Extract
Pinch of Salt
Melissa’s Grapes, for the topping
Apricot or Orange Marmalade preserves for the glaze
To make the crust, pulse the crackers and Clean Snax® until crushed, and then add the softened butter and pulse until combined into moistened crumbs. Pour the mixture into a spring form pan and pat down to cover the bottom and slightly up the side. Set aside.

Puree the tofu, cream cheese, almond extract, and salt until completely creamy and smooth.

Pour the filling mixture into the spring form pan, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for about 50 minutes at 325 degrees until lightly brown around the edges and almost completely firm to the touch. Turn off the heat, but leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour, then remove and cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator overnight.

To decorate, wash and dry your choice of Melissa’s seasonal grapes. Use your favorite preserves to brush a coat down on the cheesecake before placing your grapes on top. Brush a second coat of preserves on top, refrigerate the cheesecake for another hour, and then serve.