When hearing the words 'cheesecake' what do you think of?
Personally, I am taken back to yesteryear, a time where cheesecake bites were the epitome of class (naturally I had to have them at my thirteenth birthday party), when Philadelphia Cream Cheese made individually wrapped "low fat" cheesecake bars (that I would eat while babysitting... Trish, I am sorry for eating all of your cheesecake, really I was doing you a favor) and The Cheesecake Factory was exploding into chain restaurant stardom.
Cheesecake is love. It contains all of the most comforting parts of a dessert- it is creamy, smooth, decadent, and usually (when I make it) topped with something delicious. Turtle, New York, Philadelphia, almond joy, double chocolate, chocolate raspberry, birthday cake, pumpkin, cookies n' creme, strawberry, lemon, blueberry, peanut butter, caramel apple... seriously... you name it, someone has made it into cheesecake (don't believe me? Check pinterest)!
When I asked Drew what he wanted for dessert on his birthday he said he would love cheesecake (bet you didn't see that one coming)... however, he didn't want it to be too sweet or too heavy, in fact he didn't really want it to be made with dairy at all. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
I had been wanting to make a vegan (raw) cheesecake for quite sometime, but hadn't had a reason to do so, until now. I read about a million recipes, looked up reviews, asked a few friends for advice. At the end of the day I took inspiration from this amazing recipe by Kate Bradley .
What you will need for the crust:
1 cup raw pecans (the first time I made this I used Pistachios... also amazing)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp agave nectar
10-12 dates pitted and mashed
dash sea salt
What you will need for the filling:
1.5 cups raw Cashews (soaked and drained)
1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut manna
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp coconut nectar
2 tsp vanilla
Pulse the pecans and sunflower seeds with sea salt until their is a nice powder to grain ratio (I like a little "nut" texture) add this to your mashed dates. Add in the tsp of coconut oil and agave, mix together by hand until well combined.
Line a pan with wax paper (I used a loaf pan 9x4x4... a spring form pan would be ideal). Press your crust mixture into the bottom of the pan evenly.
Place into the freezer.
In your blender or food processor, combine the filling ingredients and puree until smooth (no joke... it is that easy) the mixture should be thick and creamy.
Remove the crust from the freezer, cover with your delectable filling and place back into the freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove and place in the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving.
I chose to serve mine with fresh raspberries and raw (sugar free) chocolate, which was amazing! However, you could easily serve it with any other number of tempting toppings.
In the days following Drews birthday I gave slices of his cheesecake away (so we wouldn't eat the WHOLE thing). The rave reviews floored me! Not to taut my talents as a cook (I mean I am decent, but I am no Tyler Wells) but every single person who tried it a) asked for the recipe and b) said it was the best cheesecake they had ever had... and you guys... it didn't even contain cheese!