Photo courtesy of Jill Peters
The weekend finished with a lunch at my Grandma's with my extended family. One of my favourite things to do is create and share raw vegan desserts with my family and friends. So for this occasion I decided to invent a raw vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free berry cashew cheesecake that pretty much anyone could eat and enjoy. And make in the kitchen. I've kept the ingredient list short and the process simple. All you need is a food processor or high-powered blender and a freezer. And family or friends to be your
guinea pigs, I mean, taste testers! (Just like my family so graciously are!)
berry cashew cheesecake
1 cup raw or activated almonds*
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 2-4 hours
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup coconut butter/oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut nectar, pure maple syrup, raw honey (optional)
Orange zest and dried shredded coconut
Orange slices and pure maple syrup
Frozen berries or sliced frozen banana
To make the base, combine the almonds, shredded coconut and medjool dates in a food processor and pulse until well combined but with chunky pieces. If using a high-powered blended, process in small batches, starting with the almonds and coconut and then adding the dates, until the mixture starts to form a ball. Then, press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan or a silicon muffin mould that is greased with coconut butter/oil.
To make the filling, melt the coconut butter/oil in a bowl placed in your dehydrator, in boiling water or in your oven on a low setting with the door ajar. In a food processor or high-powered blender combine the melted coconut butter/oil, raw cashews and, if desired, the optional natural sweetener of your choice, and then add the fresh or frozen mixed berries to the mixture. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping when you need to scrape down the sides of the processor or blender. Again, you may have to process the mixture in small batches if you are using a high-powered blender. Pour the filling on top of the base, smoothing the top of the cheesecake filling with a spatula.
Decorate your cheesecake or mini cheesecakes with any combination of the listed toppings and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. The dessert will keep in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Serve the dessert once slightly softened on removal from the freezer with a drizzle of a natural sweetener if you have not added any to the filling and your choice of fresh or frozen fruits. Be creative with your toppings and enjoy your cheese-less cheesecake - guilt free!
*Read this post for instructions on how to activate nuts and seeds.