I first tried raw cheesecake at the Chicago Diner and couldn’t believe it was non-dairy and did not contain soy. What could possibly make a creamy filling that wasn’t dairy or soy? Cashews. I tried this recipe over the holidays, hoping it would be close to what was served at the Chicago Diner. Not only was it close in flavor and really easy to make, it fooled everyone who tried it.
Since then, I’ve modified the recipe a bit. I wanted a crust that was less crumbly, a filling with a bit more citrus tang and a hint more vanilla. I also modified the baking pans this time.
This recipe will nicely fill a 9″ springform pan. Because I wanted to share this week’s sweet with a group of people, I went on the hunt for mini springform pans. Williams-Sonoma offers these, however they are having difficulty keeping them in their stores. Call before you head to the store to get these! This recipe filled 4 mini springform pans and 24 cupcakes. I am guessing it would make 8 mini cheesecakes.
Raw Vegan Cheesecake
2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 cups Medjool dates
Blend almonds and dates in food processor until chopped into a crumbly mixture. Press mixture into bottom of springform pan (or cupcake-paper lined muffin tins). I used a small glass to lightly tamp the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water (I soak them overnight, a couple hours will do)
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup coconut oil–liquified
1/2 cup water
2 t. vanilla bean paste
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. Meyer lemon zest
Melt coconut oil by putting it in a glass measuring cup and floating the glass measuring cup in a bowl of warm water.
Mix all ingredients in the food processor until smooth. I let the food processor run for about 4 minutes.
Pour filling on top of crust and spread evenly. It will look quite runny. Cover and freeze overnight. While this is not a frozen cake, freezing it will solidify the coconut oil.
Remove from freezer and refrigerate. I like to bring this out of the frig about 30 minutes before serving.
1/2 c. fresh blueberries, evenly divided
1/2 c. fresh red raspberries, evenly divided
8 Medjool dates
3 T. agave nectar
juice of one Meyer lemon
Blend 1/4 c. blueberries, 1/4 c. raspberries, dates, agave nectar and lemon juice together in food processor. Remove the saucy mixture from the food processor and place into a bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 c. blueberries and 1/4 c. raspberries, folding them into the sauce. Add topping immediately before serving.
This week’s Sweet Friend is Mandy. I met Mandy at a gym one cold evening 3 years ago. I had been to workout at my local Curves and got a really stern lecture from one of the staff members that left me in tears. Seriously, who gets lectured at Curves? Me, that’s who.
I left Curves and immediately went to a nearby gym that had recently opened. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a very pregnant Mandy. She made transitioning to a new gym very easy, even though the intensity of her workouts scared me. Sometimes it still does.
That gym is long gone, but I continue working out with Mandy at another gym. She is an amazing personal trainer and has helped me make big changes in my life. I don’t intend this to be a testimonial for her services but perhaps it is. Three years ago, in my head, the word “marathon” was reserved for crazy people, those who had been runners their entire lives, people with a genetic predisposition for endurance activities. In no way did I identify with that. Now I am one of those crazy people, thanks to the encouragement of Mandy. She has brought many firsts into my life: 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, triathlon, duathlon…and while I’m not winning any awards, I am certainly more active and fit than I imagined possible, especially for a girl who would much rather bake than bike.
Somewhere along the way, Mandy and I became friends. If I had to choose just one great characteristic Mandy has beyond being a great fitness trainer, it would be her ability to make friends. It sure is easy to go to the gym when I know I will be with a trainer who is also a friend and to be with other women who also become friends thanks to Mandy. She is great at building community, even in a situation most of us dread (the gym).
Mandy is just fun to be with, in or out of the gym. She is quick to laugh and always open to trying new things, even when they are way off center. And she loves cheesecake, even if it is cheese-less.