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
1 cup packed (200 g) pitted dates* (curmale) soaked in enough boiling water just to cover
1 cup (120 g) raw walnuts (nuci)
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)
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.
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.
go nuts for this tart
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.
A cocktail of gazpachos
For me gazpacho is summer in a glass and I make my Go To Tomato Gazpacho time and time again through the summer when tomatoes are sweet and juicy sometimes with yellow tomatoes to create a sunshine golden version and sometimes with red to be classic. Gazpacho is a liquid salad so I am never very precise with quantities and adding bread is a personal preference – I like to as i like the creamier emulsified texture. I adore the very creamy Spanish “Salmorejo” which is a red tomato gazpacho with a higher amount of bread in it. As the method is really only about blending its really all about the sweetest ripest ingredients and thats why going to the market yields the best results. Somehow the little cucumbers are sweeter, the onions stronger and the tomatoes richer in flavour. Here you have a trio of new gazpacho recipes to try:
Avocado & Cucumber Gazpacho