RECIPE: BERRY BLISS CHEESECAKE

This cheesecake is one of my basic standby recipes, as it is just so quick and easy to make.  It is raw, vegan, both gluten and dairy free, looks amazing, and tastes amazing!

The cheesecake is truly quick to make – no pre-soaking the nuts or leaving overnight to set.  Unexpected guests arrive, whizz and layer the cheesecake, then pop into the freezer to firm up.  Take it out of the freezer before serving to soften slightly.  When you serve it up for dessert, just wait for the compliments.  Smile when you hear, “Oh wow!  You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble – this tastes amazing!”

You can use any berries you like with this recipe.  I tend to use mixed berries, just because that’s what I usually have in the freezer.  If you are using raspberries, it can be nice to substitute half of the coconut oil in the filling layer for cacao butter.  Then serve with fresh raspberry coulis, yoghurt and grated chocolate.  Frozen strawberry topping goes very well with the coconut oil filling, served up with fresh strawberries on top.

In the heat of summer, I like to serve this cheesecake as a frozen dessert.  I place it on the table a little ahead of time, so that it softens just enough for easy slicing.  Other times, I serve it chilled rather than frozen, with the topping slowly drizzling down the sides of each individual slice.

Have fun with this one – and enjoy the compliments!

Ingredients – Base:

  • ¼ Cup dried, shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 Cup almonds
  • ½ Cup walnuts (or just use 1 ½ Cups almonds)
  • ½ Cup pitted Medjool dates, chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Ingredients – Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 Cups raw cashew nuts
  • ¾ Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ – ½ Cup 100% pure maple syrup – depending on your taste
  • ¾ Cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1 Tb pure vanilla essence
  • Up to ¼ Cup water, only if necessary to assist blending

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 2 Cups frozen berries
  • ½ Cup pitted medjool dates, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Line the sides of a 20cm / 8” round spring-form baking tin with baking paper.  Sprinkle the coconut onto the base.  The coconut forms part of your base layer and stops it sticking to the baking tin.
  2. Add the nuts, dates and salt to your food processor bowl and pulse until well processed but still airy – not in one smooth clump.  Tip the nut mixture evenly into the pan, on top of the coconut.    Compress well using a flat-based glass or something similar to tamp down firmly.
  3. Place all filling ingredients into your food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy.  Add a little water, a small splash at a time, if you need it to facilitate blending.  Pour this mixture on top of the crust.
  4. Place the cheesecake into the freezer for about an hour, to firm up.
  5. Once the cheesecake is firm, process or blend the frozen berries and dates together to make the topping.  Blend or process until lovely and smooth.  Pour this mixture on top of the cheesecake and place it back in the freezer.  Freeze until the topping is set to your liking and the whole cheesecake has the right consistency.
  6. You can serve the cheesecake straight from the freezer, or leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes before eating, if you prefer a softer set.

Why this dish works:

There is a good balance of both textures and taste in this cheesecake.  The seeds in the berry topping provide a texture that balances well with the base, and the filling evokes memories of traditional cheesecakes, without all the dairy products.  It is creamy, yet fresh-tasting.  Rich and sweet, but not at all sickly.  It is very simple to make, so an extremely practical dish to have in your repertoire.

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