18 June 2012

Raw Vegan Cheesecake Wonder!

Written by Published in Food

Dairy free desserts may not immediately conjure up images of decadence, even less so when you bring the word 'raw' into the equation. However, over the last few years raw dairy-free vegan desserts have come into their own, spawning a huge following of people who care about what they eat and where it comes from but also want to indulge in a little dessert action now and again

Raw vegan cheesecake might sound like an oxymoron but reserve judgment until you sample the smooth creamy texture and sweet, biscuit like base. Traditional cheesecake doesn't have much to offer in the health stakes, particularly if bought at a supermarket or restaurant. Laden with fat and hugely calorific, the dairy content alone has virtually nothing in the way of nutritional value. Plus, the high sugar content is sure to send your blood sugar levels spiraling into the stratosphere – sugar crash ahoy!

rawcherrycheesecake.jpegThis raw alternative not only tastes like the real thing but has multiple benefits too. Whilst high in calories (all nuts are), cashews are abundant in vitamins (B5, B-6 and B-1), minerals (including selenium, copper and zinc), as well as numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect the body from disease and cancer. Being rich in monounsaturated fatty acids also means they could reduce your chance of heart disease and stroke by lowering your bad LDL cholesterol. Clever cashews.

Eliminating refined sugar can also be very beneficial but the use of super sweet medjool dates ensures you lose none of the taste. The list of nutritional benefits belonging to the humble date are notable and certainly outweigh the negative impact refined sugar has on the system. By simply swapping one for the other, you could be avoiding fuelling that probably already rampant sugar addiction and helping your body heal from the strain refined sugar puts on the body.

And if that doesn't convince you then let the food do the talking because after one slice of this you'll be hooked on health and wanting more. Desserts really never tasted so good.

raw cherry bakewell cheesecake

crust
½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup medjool dates
1 tsp almond extract

Cherry Cheesecake Layer
1 ½ cup pitted fresh cherries
½ cup soaked cashews
¼ cup agave nectar or other natural sweetener
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Vanilla Cheesecake Layer
1 ½ cups soaked cashews
½ cup agave nectar or other natural sweetener
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice ½ lemon
¼ cup filtered water

Topping
½ cup flaked almonds
Alternatively....blitz a handful of pitted cherries with two/three medjool dates for a sweet compote like topping

Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Allow to stand for 4-6hrs. 

Place all the crust ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until crumbly. Line a cake tin with baking parchment and turn the crust mixture into it. Press firmly to the edges using the back of your fingers. Place in freezer for 30mins.

rawcheesecake.jpegRinse out blender. Add the cherries, agave and lemon juice. Blitz until completely smooth, it should be liquid like. Next add the cashews and coconut oil and blitz until completely smooth and creamy.
Take the crust out of the freezer and carefully pour over the cherry cheesecake mixture, scraping down the sides with a spatula. Smooth with a spatula until it is completely even and return to freezer for an hour.

Rinse blender and add the ingredients for the vanilla layer. Blitz until completely smooth. This layer will be less thick. When the cherry layer has set carefully pour over the vanilla mixture. Smooth with a spatula, sprinkle over the flaked almonds and place in the freezer for several hours.

When it has set, transfer to the fridge for 30mins before trying to remove it from the tin.

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