Port Reduction Cheesecake Squares

The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com

Throughout all the culinary classes I took a couple years ago, I never heard of anything that sounded fancier than “port reduction.” 

It’s really just a syrup made of a sweet fortified wine… but it actually tastes as fancy as it sounds.  (Which is good, or else it I think it’d be something of a letdown.)  Still, it’s as easy a sauce as you can make, being only one ingredient, and you can put it in or on anything dessert-like!

The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com
The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com

 

With such an ingredient, I decided it should be part of a dessert that embodied total, all-out, fanciness. 

You know, as opposed to halfhearted fanciness.  Because anyone could make a port reduction and put it on… fro yo or something… but a cheesecake - now that would make it simply extended-pinky-worthy.

But cheesecake bites are even better!  Cheesecake bites you can hold betwixt your thumb and index fingers while holding out your pinky and sipping tea or Champagne with the other hand.  Doesn’t that just sound mahvelous, dahling?

The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com
The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com

 

Even more importantly, no one should be excluded from such a delight, so I’ve finally developed a cheesecake recipe specifically to work with gluten-free and vegan diets!  (But never fear – if you prefer regular cream cheese, that works just as well.)  

One thing I will say, though, is that even with the vegan cream cheese, my husband (who doesn’t say he likes anything he doesn’t like) said that this cheesecake was the best one I’ve made so far.  High praise from a non-vegan dessert-skeptic!

Question of the day: What do you like to make for parties, birthdays, etc?  Cake?  Pie?  Cheesecake? Something you made up?
The best cheesecake ever - a port reduction cheesecake that's vegan + gluten-free! - FitCakery.com

Port Reduction Cheesecake Squares

vegan + gluten-free {makes 16 squares}

Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 2/3 c. raw cashews
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • ¼ c. dried cherries
  • 1/3 c. ground flax seed or ground chia seed
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. port wine
Cheesecake Filling:
  • ½ c. raw cashews
  • ¼ c. almond milk
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti) Note: Regular cream cheese works, too!
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar (or stevia powder, if you like)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 15-20 drops stevia liquid (or up to 2 T. more sugar)
  • ½ c. tawny or ruby port wine

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine cashews through salt until the crust has a uniform crumb (there are no large chunks of anything.)  Add the 2 T. port and process.  The mixture should just start to cling together when pressed.

Spray the bottom of an 8 x 8” or 9” round baking pan coated in baking spray.  Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan until it is packed down evenly.  Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, then remove to cool.  Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, reduce the ½ c. port for 10 minutes or so, at a simmer, until reduced to about half the volume.  It will look a bit syrupy when done.  Allow to sit at room temperature while you finish the filling.

Blend the cashews and almond milk until it is as smooth as possible.  (Note: if you like, you can get a more creamy consistency by soaking the cashews in water for 4 hours or overnight before draining and using – but it’s not a necessity.)

Blend in the cream cheese through stevia liquid until everything is completely smooth.  Pour this on top of the crust.  Pour the port reduction on top and use a knife or small spatula to swirl it lightly into the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees, about 30-35 minutes.  The cheesecake will thicken but still be very moist.  Allow to cool to almost room temperature before covering and chilling in the refrigerator.

Cut into little squares and serve at your next tea party or fancy soiree!

Makes 16 (2”) squares or 36 bite-sized squares.

Nutrition for 1/16 recipe (using sugar): 121 calories; 7 g fat (2 g saturated); 10 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 3 g protein (subtract 3 g carbs if using stevia instead)

Nutrition for 1/36 recipe (using sugar): 54 calories; 3 g fat (.5 g saturated); 4 g carbs; 1 g protein

Because we need more cheesecake in life:

Pumpkin Cheesecake (low-carb + gluten-free)

Mom's Lemon-Raspberry Cheesecake 

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies (with vegan option)

Strawberry Cheese-Cake

Question of the day: What do you like to make for parties, birthdays, etc?  Cake?  Pie?  Cheesecake? Something you made up?