Monday, January 31, 2011

raw cashew cheesecake


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I've seen these cheesecakes for as long as I've been perusing raw food blogs, so why haven't I made one myself? No idea. Should have done it ages ago!

Cheesecake, a whole food? You better believe it. Not that you should it eat everyday or anything, but as far as desserts go - this is totally one you can feel good about your little ones eating. And yourself, of course. Andreas and I (without any guilt whatsoever) munched on a piece for breakfast this morning...

The preparation for this is much, much, much easier than a typical cheesecake. And pretty foolproof, if you ask me. Even if it doesn't look the prettiest, it'll still taste amazing. I'm telling you -- I tasted every part of it as I went, and was still BLOWN away when I took it out of the freezer and cut a slice. It's so much better than the "real" thing, you'll flip.

On the preparation --Do not skip soaking the raw cashews in water. Soaking increases your body's absorption of the vitamins & minerals, and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors naturally present in raw nuts and seeds (read more about that here). I recommend soaking them for at least 4 hours, if not overnight. I found that a blender worked best for the filling (made it creamier), and food processor for the crust. Also, don't substitute the coconut oil for any other oil, as it is solid at room temperature, and therefore helps the cheesecake stay firm. Berries aren't in season here (and I don't have any frozen on hand), but I imagine a raw berry sauce would be just LOVELY on top.

for the crust:
1/2 cup raw pecans (pecans don't require soaking)
a little more than 1/2 cup soft pitted dates
1/4 cup raw flaked coconut
tiniest pinch of sea salt

for the filling:
3 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked & drained)
2/3 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans, scraped

Begin by soaking the nuts. After they've finished soaking, prepare the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, chop the dates, nuts, coconut and sea salt. Process until it holds together when you press it between two of your fingers. Set aside. Begin the filling by slightly warming the coconut oil in a bowl of warm water (it melts at 77 degrees). Add the cashews, coconut oil, agave, lemon juice and vanilla into the pitcher of a blender, and blend well (until completely smooth). Blend a little more, just to be safe.

Press the crust evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan (don't go up the sides). Pour the filling on top and freeze for 4 hours, or over night. To serve, let the cheesecake thaw for about 30 minutes, and cut into small slivers.

serves 16

for babies 12 months and older!

38 comments:

Dominika said...

Can I substitute pecans with walnuts (or some other nuts) in this recipe? Unfortunately it's hard to buy pecans where I live, but I'd love to try this cheesecake :) I was reading the product list three times to convince myself that there is no cheese in it... ;)
Oh, and by the way - I love your blog! It's great to find kindred spirits far, far away ;)

Megan-Joy said...

Dominika - Walnuts will definitely work in this recipe! In fact, my go-to raw tart crust is made from walnuts, and it's delish!

That's so funny, about the ingredient list :) Even I was surprised by how similar to real cheesecake it looked!

And thank you so much! Do you have a blog? If so, I'd love to read it :)

Katyha said...

this looks divine! but it is hard to find ingredients here, I am going to hunt for things at the health food store

And Kathleen said...

I cannot WAIT to try this out.

Michele said...

This looks wonderful, and so easy! By the way, I love your blog and all your delicious vegan recipes!

Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan said...

Wow you have such a beautiful blog and very creative recipes! Your photos are amazing! what camera do yo use? If you don't mind me asking...

Megan-Joy said...

Michele - Thank you, so much! This blog is so dear to my heart, and I take each compliment personally :)

Jennifer & Jaclyn - Of course I don't mind you asking! Nothing special --just a Nikon D60. Most of my photos are taken with a 55-200/ f3 zoom lens (not the best for food, but it's what I have).

I just took a peek at you two's blog, and TALK about creative recipes. LOVE every single one! I applaud you wonderful ladies, and will definitely be following along, from now on :)

Vanessa said...

Like Dominika, I also re-read the ingredients because I couldn't believe there wasn't cheese in this cheesecake.

Lisa said...

Wow, I can't believe there's no cream cheese in this. It looks so creamy and silky and I bet it was absolutely delicious. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog right now called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link your cheesecake up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/02/sweets-for-saturday-3.html

Megan-Joy said...

Vanessa - You could definitely fake someone out --the texture and appearance (and even taste, to some extent) are spot on! :)

Lisa - I'm headed over to do it, right now :)

Dominika said...

Megan-Joy - I don't have a blog, yet. But maybe one day I would invite you to mine :)

Marta Graham, MS, RD, LD said...

I'm allergic to coconut. Is there anything I could sub for the coconut oil? I am also allergic to dairy, wheat/gluten, soy and eggs.

Paige K. said...

If I send you money, will you make me one?..lol. It looks sooo delicious, but alas, I am too lazy to go make it. Keep up the great work. I love the beautiful pictures you have on your blog and that you make the effort to cook healthy!

Kathleen said...

megan, you could really write a book. your recipes are delicious, easy to follow and above all healthy. not to mention your pictures are fabulous. my aunt is in the book publishing business and has done a lot of cook books. she often sends them my way 'hot off the press'. if you are interested please contact me, i cant get get you in touch with her. love love love. kchavoor@gmail.com

Lisa said...

Made this a week ago, totally changed my life.

I was somewhat familiar with the wonders of extra virgin coconut oil (raw vegan chocolates are a recent hobby), but I never expected this to become so creamy. Especially since I only soaked the cashews for about an hour. I also used a combination of almonds and walnuts for the crust, and it was divine.

What also surprised me was how the flavor changed after it was chilled. At first I thought the lemon was too strong, but it eventually mellowed into that distinctly cheesecakey taste. Color me flabbergasted.

Making it again tomorrow, this time I'm thinking of creating a strawberry sauce to drizzle over it.

You might be interested in a the dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free pie I posted on my blog a while back (I haven't updated in a while because I don't have a great camera): http://colormeveggie.blogspot.com/2010/01/and-now-recipe-flourless-eggless-dairy.html

Elizabeth Downie said...

How long should I soak the cashews?

Thanks for the recipe! :) Loving your blog!!

Karen Elizabeth said...

First of all, I LOVE your blog. I have a number of health problems and, after doing a month-long detox, have found that some foods contribute to the degree of how awful i feel on a daily basis. I've made your peanut butter "cookies" (when we smashed them down, they kind of fell apart, so we ended up just keeping them in balls) - my husband LOVES them and so does everyone who has tried them. The second time, he asked me to add a bit of honey (we're not vegan, although i enjoy making vegan meals) - the honey added just the right touch.
Last week, I also made the raw cashew "cheese"cake for my husband's birthday (with a fresh raspberry sauce on top made of raspberries, lemon zest, water and a touch of stevia). it was INCREDIBLE. I had to go to a friend's house to use her freezer (ours is tiny and packed) and it was SO worth the running around. My husband only ended up having 2 pieces out of the whole cake... 10 other people tried it and were absolutely amazed. Anyways, just wanted to say how lovely it is to find a blog with such rich, nutrient-filled foods. I also appreciate learning from your various nutritional fact-bits. And i love that the whole reason you cook is for your family. It makes me happy inside :D

Brad & Sharon said...

Wow! I have so many food intolerances it can get depressing and so does my hubby and two girls, with xmas around the corner i was hoping i could find something special to make when the rest of the family are eating 'normal' treats. Thank you SO much. (i follow the 'No Big Dill) blog which is where i got this link :)

celia said...

This is Beeeautiful!!!! i really am going to try this recipe. The photos are wonderful as well.

zerbert said...

I am making this for the first time today! I have always been put off by the large amount of coconut oil, but I've read there are many good things about coconut oil, so I'll give it a try! I don't have agave, so I'll use some soaked dates and add some sugar if it's still not sweet enough.

Tiffany said...

I can not have cashews is there another nut that you could sub?

Tiffany said...
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autumn said...

I have been curious about trying a cashew cheesecake for a long time. I like this simple, classic recipe. I am wondering if if needs to go back in the freezer after the initial freeze? Or can it be stored in the fridge? I'm going to try not to eat it all in one sitting :) Thanks, Autumn

The Urban Poser said...

Autum, Try Macadamias or soaked and skinned almonds...that is if you haven't tried this already.

JoDuraz said...

i've made this a couple of times - once with raw raspberry sauce, the next with strawberry sauce - and both times it turned out AMAZING! thank you for such a wonderful recipe, one that's not only delicious, but also extremely easy!

nannersp said...

This is so cool! I was searching Interest for Paleo desserts and I came across this delicious looking cheesecake! Yum. Making it this weekend!

Mother Hiker said...

It tastes way to sweet. I am new to raw and this is my first cake/pie. Do you think 2/3 cup of agave nectar was correct? My cheesecake is a light brown and tastes too sweet to eat. Ugh. Your advise is appreciated, hoping to find out what I did wrong.

Molly Painter said...

What is that china pattern??????? Gorgeous!!

Jen said...

Does anyone know how long I can keep the cheesecake in the freezer for? I want to make it tonight (wednesday) but serve it on friday... will that be ok??

Benjamin Montes said...

Made the filling for my daughter's seventh birthday and THE pickiest eater I know said he really liked it! This is a grown man! Thanks for the great recipe. Will definitely make again!

Ashley said...

I absolutely cannot wait to make this! I am a die hard cheesecake lover and this is just what I've been looking for!

And it's so gorgeous!!! You did a wonderful job!

Ashley

aubrie said...

I was pretty skeptical of this, but after reading all the great reviews I decided it was worth trying. Oh. My. Goodness. It was seriously so creamy, delicious, and amazing and you would never guess it was so good for you! Thanks for the amazing recipe! I halved the recipe and made it in standard size muffin cups and got 11 cheesecakes.

Kate said...

How should you store this if it doesn't get eaten in one sitting? Should it go back in the freezer, or is it better left in the fridge? How long will it keep?

dental257 said...

Need to know ASAP ~ AKA ~ TODAY~ Can i substiture pecans for the base instead of macadamia nuts?

dental257 said...

Need to know ASAP ~ AKA ~ TODAY~ Can i substiture pecans for the base instead of macadamia nuts?

Noor Khan said...

I there anything else which I can use instead of Agave nectar? Because its not available in my country

Dani said...

Can i use honey instead of agave nectar? has anyone tried that?
and do i have to use medjoul dates or can i use normal pitted dates?
Thanks in advance! The receipe looks amazing!!!

Anna said...

I've been meaning to try this for a long time and finally got to doing it today--all I can say is ohhmygod this has changed my life. I still can't get over the fact that cashews can become cheesecake consistency!! I had to change up the recipe bc I didn't have some of the ingredients so here are my changes:
In the crust, I subbed 1/4 cup coconut with 1/4 cup plain quick oats, used ~3/4 cup pecans and 1/2 cup almonds
Cheesecake part I used roasted salted cashews but soaked them for like 2 nights and changed the water twice. It worked perfectly! I also only had 1/3 cup lemon juice but wished j had more. It was a bit on the sweet side bc of that. I also added a raw blueberry topping ! This is amazing thank you sooo much for the recipe!!:))