So yesterday was a very busy day, and a special occasion: boyfriend's birthday! The first part of it I spent on a backstage tour of Epcot's hydroponic garden. Let me just say, they may not be organic, or jive at all with my agricultural values, but my, was it magical! The kind of wonder one expects to find in a Disney affiliate. Check it!
A "tomato tree" that has produced 32,000 tomatoes!!!
Here's a wide view of the part of the greenhouse where all the vertical containers moved around on a huge track, suspended from the ceiling. So futuristic and weird.
Yep, that's a Mickey-shaped squash.
Jarred picked me up afterward and we went straight to my house to pick up his birthday cake! Couldn't even make it to the dining room before cutting into it. Let me introduce you, my friends, to the baklava cheesecake:
OMGGGG, this was literally the first processed sugar I've had in over two months, and I loved every second of it!!! It was the recollection of a distant memory of this cake that moved me to make it: Bizarre Avenue Cafe in downtown Lake Worth, FL had it as the chef's dessert special one fine day in my childhood. So here's my improvised version - pretty labor-intensive, but for special occasions, it's well worth the time and effort.
2 cups walnuts
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup vegan sugar
1 roll of pre-made vegan phyllo dough (two to a box in my experience)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup local honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
Toss the walnuts, spices and sugar together in a bowl. Pulse the mixture around 15 times in a food processor, then return to the bowl. Brush a circular metal baking tin with coconut oil, then start layering half-sheets of dough, brushing each one with the oil as well. Once you've got 10 down, spread a 1/3 of the walnut mixture over top. Repeat the process, this time with 8 sheets. Spread the next 1/3 of walnuts. Layer 8 more sheets, then the final third, and top with a final 8 sheets.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. In the mean time, boil the honey, water, sugar and cinnamon stick for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Adhered, for the most part, to Vegan Pandamonium's cheesecake recipe. My small changes due to ingredient availability were:
• lime instead of lemon juice
• no coconut milk
• arrowroot starch instead of corn starch
• phyllo dough crust, made in the same manner as baklava
Once the cheesecake has baked for 40 minutes, also at 350 degrees, allow it to cool for a bit, then plop the whole baklava onto it. Allow the baklava to cool completely, poke around 8 holes in the top with a fork, then pour syrup (minus the cinnamon stick) all over it. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Serve at room temperature!