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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fun with cashews: Company-worthy vegan cheesecake

Oh, cashews, fatty sweet nut of my heart, is there anything you can't do? Last week I blogged about a rich vegan Alfredo-style pasta sauce; now, cashews are the star of a vegan cheesecake that's creamy, luscious, and utterly foolproof. The press-in crust is made from ground almonds and Medjool dates, enlivened with a dash of salt. I freaking love this recipe.



I do think you need a high-powered blender for this recipe. Even my Blend-tec took several cycles to remove all traces of graininess from the blended cashews, especially because the filling mixture has relatively little liquid in it.

I did make a few minor tweaks:

  • The original recipe called for X of agave, but cashews taste plenty sweet to me as they are, so I reduced the sugar to a tablespoonful. I also subbed out coconut nectar for agave, because it was what I had.
  • I happened to have some ground flaxseed lying about from making pancakes that morning, so I threw a couple of tablespoonfuls into the crust. They were undetectable in the final product, and it's always a good idea to add flaxseed, am I right?
  • This time I used blueberries instead of raspberries. I intend to make this recipe again, often, using whatever fruit I have to hand, or even an extra dash of vanilla.
  • The recipe calls for the juice of two lemons. My lemons were large (I know, right?) and I was worried that the filling was too acidic - but the freezing seems to smooth out the flavors, and the final product had just the right amount of tang.

Recipe: Raw cashew cheesecake

Adapted from My New Roots raw cashew cheesecake
Vegan and gluten-free

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
  • 1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional; add a little more or less, or none at all)

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, ideally overnight
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil. I used a combination of refined and unrefined, because I didn't have enough of either. I think either one would work in this case.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
  • 1 cup blueberries or fruit of your choice (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, grind nuts, dates, salt, and flaxseed until they're to your liking. I prefer a breadcrumb texture. Test by squeezing a little in your hand. If the ingredients hold, you're good. Press into a springform pan (the original recipe uses a 7-inch pan; I used an 8-inch pan but I think the smaller pan would have been a little better and resulted in an even better proportion of filling to crust. 
  2. Blend together all the filling ingredients, except the fruit, until very, very smooth and creamy. This may take up to five minutes, and you'll probably have to stop and scrape down the sides of the jar, pausing only to lick the spatula and repeat. 
  3. Smooth about 2/3 of the mixture onto the crust.
  4. Add the fruit to the remaining filling and blend on high until very, very smooth. 
  5. Pour on top of the first layer of filling. Smooth out the top, and put the cake in the freezer.
  6. Remove from freezer at least 30 minutes prior to eating. Cut into slices with a sharp knife. Leftovers freeze beautifully.

1 comment:

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