Cashew Cheesecake

This “cheesecake” is dairy and gluten free and I like it as it is just so nutritionally rich made as it is with nuts packed with protein and all manner of minerals and vitamins and being low in sugar. I also love that it has a lush, luxurious mouth feel and tastes delicious; in fact it has become my “go to” cheesecake recipe.  It involves no actual cooking merely blending and for those who like such labels would fall into the category of “raw vegan”. The one negative is that the ingredients are a little pricey but as it is rather rich, small slivers suffice.  

The recipe adapts well to mini cheesecakes made in muffin tins (although a little fiddly) and when the mercury rises it is fun to freeze and serve as a cheesecake ice cream.  Toppings you can let your imagination run riot: In Spring I like strawberries and basil, then apricot and thyme compote, then blueberries, then raspberries and mint, and now in September plums roasted with red wine and rosemary. 

Ingredients for a 20cm cheesecake

Base

1 cup packed (200 g) pitted dates* (curmale) soaked in enough boiling water just to cover 

1 cup (120 g) raw walnuts (nuci)

Filling

1 1/2 cups (180-200 g) raw cashews, quick soaked*(caju)

1 large lemon, juiced (1/4 cup or 50 ml) (suc de lamaie)

1/3 cup (80 g) coconut oil (unt de cocos)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp (150 ml) full fat coconut milk (lapte de cocos cel mai cremos)

1/2 cup (100 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)(sirop de agave sau miere)

How To

Crust

Process walnuts in a blender to a fine meal. Remove. In the same blender bowl add dates and blend to a smooth paste. Now add the walnut meal and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a few more dates, if too wet, add more almond or walnut meal. 

Place baking paper over the removable base of the tin. Close the tin. Scoop in the base mixture and press down with your fingers. You can lightly oil the sides of the tin if you are worried about the cheesecake sticking – I generally do not. Chill in the fridge until the filling mixture is ready. 

Filling

Blend the cashew nuts to a meal first. (I find doing this as a first stage just helps a really creamy texture). Add the rest of the ingredients and continue blending until the filling is a creamy paste. 

Pour the paste over the base and place in the fridge overnight. To set the cheesecake faster put it in the freezer.  It usually just takes 1-2 hours to set.

If serving frozen (which is rather nice) then take out of the freezer 20 minutes before serving. 

 

Pear & Goat Cheese Tart

An alternative dessert

goats-cheese-pear-and-goat-cheese-tart

 

If you have some very overripe pears and a bit of leftover strong cheese in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with then this tart makes them standout stars.  The combination of very ripe pears and cheese is one of the most magical tastes of Autumn be it a pungent Roquefort or some really good goat’s cheese – which i was lucky enough to have in my fridge. In fact I first made a version of this tart with Roquefort but I might prefer it made with the impeccable clean tasting goat’s cheese from Mihai Preotescu as in this version. The recipe uses my easy peasy walnut and olive oil pastry which is just pressed by hand into the tin – no rolling pin necessary and no cleaning of a flour dusted work surface – labour saving and saving the planet all at the same time …  We drizzled it with some strong wonderful Romanian honey and serevd more roasted walnuts alongside. I am ashamed to say (was it the wine?) I cant remember which type it was..perhaps “stejar” (oak). 

This is a perfect dessert for those who do not like or cannot eat  “sweets” but it is also a lovely light lunch served with a good remoulade of autumn veggies: celeriac, carrot,apple. 

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Raspberry Walnut Frangipane Tart

Baking, Dessert, Summer, Tarts | September 10, 2016 | By

go nuts for this tart

IMG_6015

 

There is something very very right about raspberries and walnuts  – they seem to melt into the frangipane cream here and the combination is one of those where the tart is definitely more than the sum of its parts.  While its a delight to use raspberries in season, this smart tart can  be made just as well with frozen raspberries in case you need to create something impressive in colder months.  This recipe involves proper tart making ie making a crust before “Blind baking” and then filling and baking the filling.  Its not as fiddly or time consuming as you think and I for one just love the satisfaction of a properly made tart and easing it out of its case. 

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