Sunday, February 23, 2014

Coconut Cheesecake - Raw and Vegan

I can't take any credit for this recipe, other than having the brains to make it. All credit and praise for this super easy and really truly delicious dessert go to Dana at Minimalist Baker, a blog that I recently discovered and is quickly become one of my favorites. She's a professional photographer with a gazillion gadgets so my photos can't compare to hers but I do believe these little cheesecakes tasted just as good as hers.
I made these mini cheesecakes on Valentine's Day, to share with Chris and my sister (who we were thrilled was able to spend it with us). Since we all have unique dietary needs (vegan, gluten free, soy free) these were the perfect dessert. 

For the crust:
1 cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, then drained)
1 cup raw almonds

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups of raw cashews (soaked in water overnight or for at least one hour)
Freshly squeezed juice from one large lemon
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut milk (I used full fat and didn't mix it so I could easily scoop the cream from the top)
1/2 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)

The Process
The Crust
After soaking the dates, dump them into a food processor or blender and blend until you've got tiny, squishy chunks that roll into one big mass and set aside.
Next put the almonds into the food processor (or a powerful blender if you've got one) and mix until you've got a mealy consistency. Then dump the blended dates into the food processor with the almond meal and blend until a moist dough forms - it should be sticky. 
Lightly grease a muffin tin or, if you want just one big cheesecake versus a dozen individual ones, grease whatever baking pan you've got around. The crust might stick to the bottom, even though it's not going to bake, so Dana suggests putting strips of parchment paper down first for easy removal. Then scoop one teaspoon (or tablespoon, depending on the size of the slots in your muffin tin) and pack it down firmly.
Since all I had was a 12 slot mini muffin tin and a bunch of crust left over I put the remainder in one of my shallow vintage Pyrex bowls. Then it all goes into the freezer to harden while you make the topping.

The Topping
Making the "cheese" part of these little "cheesecakes" is super easy because all you do is pour all the ingredients into the food processor and puree.
Then scoop some on top of all the crust, cover with plastic wrap, and put back into the freezer for 4-6 hours before serving.
You can top your cheesecakes with whatever you want when they're ready or you can mix peanut butter right into the batter before plopping it on top of the crust. Since I had enough crust left over for a separate mold I added peanut butter to the left over topping, gave it a quick blend, and made a peanut butter cheesecake - so easy and so worth it.
Then you wait patiently for hours until the end of dinner and you pull them out of the freezer, top half of them with frozen blueberries, and are all "surprise!", and everyone rejoices.

And you take a photo of your husband enjoying the scrumptious cheesecake you made for him on Valentine's Day and then realize he was flipping you off the entire time because he doesn't know how to act normal in front of a lens. And you post the photo to spite him, of course.
Have a great week everyone and, for homework, make these frozen delights one day, you won't be disappointed.


Anonymous said...

Delicious noms and perfect finger placing in the shot. Your photography skills are growing by leaps and bounds. And you can write a little too.


Anonymous said...

Ha ha! ... Deliciously looking recipe, funny ending ... What more can we ask for?
Thank you for making it look so easy!