Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Most Incredible Raw Cashew Cheesecake

It was my birthday last week. The day was a relaxing day full of celebrating me. How often do you have days like that? I had off from work, spent the day with my man, made a delicious dinner, and this fabulous raw cashew "cheesecake". Yes, this cake is made from cashews. No cream cheese in sight. And I topped it with my favorite fruits of all time.
 Just look at that crust. It's made from dates and walnuts. And it tastes delish. Now I'm not going to lie, but if you're expecting this to taste like a typical New York style slice that you'd get at a bakery, then you will be a bit disappointed. But, I can assure you that it tastes pretty damn good and you won't feel any bit of guilt or regret from indulging in this spectacular dessert. Don't skimp on the lemon juice. It gives the cake that much needed tang.

And aren't my beeswax birthday candles just the cutest you've ever seen?

 Raw Cashew Cheesecake (slightly adapted from the lovely My New Roots)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
juice of 2 lemons
the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)--I used both, actually
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey (solid or liquid.) Vegans can use agave
Fruit topping of your choice

1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well. *Note from Renee-I only had a 9 1/2 inch spring-form pan, So I increased the recipe by half.
2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients (except the fruit topping of your choice) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient). If you have a Vita-Mix, absolutely use it.
4. Pour the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Place in freezer until solid. (I didn't actually wait for it to be solid). Top with berries.
5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Store leftovers in the freezer.

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