This cheesecake is a dessert that can also become breakfast, and makes a great alternative to a smoothie bowl. Because it’s creamy and decadent, it’s the perfect breakfast treat you’ll love to eat and never once regret. I must confess: I’ve eaten a slice at 6am before my crossfit workout, no regrets there.
Made with fresh seasonal cherries, blueberries and vibrant pink dragonfruit in a cashew and coconut base, you can blend this up and keep it in the freezer for whenever you feel like a slice (like after your crossfit workout because you need those nutritional superfoods that only raw vegan cheesecake can give).
The crust is made with dried figs (rather than the usual dates) which gives it depth and more of a raisin-like flavor. This was my first time using dried figs in place of the sweeter dates, and now I’m partial to them because they’re not as sticky, and the dried figs hold the crust together beautifully.
At the base of most raw vegan cheesecake recipes you’ll find these two basics: cashews and coconut oil. They act as binder and solidify the cheesecake that would otherwise become a sloppy smoothie bowl if left out. In addition, cocoa butter makes it all the more creamy. It wasn’t terribly easy to find cocoa butter, but the smell alone makes me crave a chocolate bar, times ten when I rub cocoa butter all over my face and body. (Yes, cocoa butter can be used for beauty purposes as well, and I highly recommend it.)
Most cashew-based cheesecakes like this are served frozen/cold due to the solidification of coconut oil at colder temperatures. The creamy quality of soaked and blended raw cashews is my favorite thing about this: I make a lot of homemade cashew creamer for my morning tea and my sweetheart’s coffee because the velvety texture is like thick cream. If you want to take the creamy factor even further, adding cocoa butter to the mixture truly does the trick. Lemon juice gives the cheesecake that “tang” your tongue is craving, and lends that “cheesecake” taste (like original cheesecake). The fun thing is, you can taste test it as you blend the filling (no dairy/eggs to worry over) so you’ll know whether or not to add more or less of any ingredient. I tend to go beyond the suggested amount of lemon juice when seeking that cheesecake-y taste.
And while I’m making this in my kitchen there’s a sink full of tasting spoons!
- (1/2 recipe for smaller portion)
- 4 cups soaked raw cashews
- 3 cups dark cherries, pitted (fresh, not frozen)
- 1 small packet pitaya (dragonfruit), thawed
- 1 whole lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 4-5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup melted cocoa butter
- (double the recipe for a thicker crust)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup raw oats
- 1 cup dried Black Mission figs
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
- Soak cashews for 6-24 hours overnight (or use hot water, 3-4 hours), covered in fridge. Drain and set aside.
- Place all crust ingredients out on the counter. Measure and process crust ingredients in a high-speed blender or a food processor until desired texture. (For thicker crust just double recipe.)
- Put together the cheesecake filling ingredients (set aside 1 cup of cherries - use 2 cups for the filling) and blend in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Using your hands, form the crust into a springform pan (I used a 9″ inch pan). You can shape the crust edge by pushing in with one thumb against the inside of the dough, and with your other hand, pinch the top of the crust against the fluted edging. Continue all around the circle of the pan until you have a well shaped tart shell. Use the flat of your palm to press the crust into the base.
- Cover the crust and set in fridge while you make the filling.
- In a bowl, mix last 1 cup of cherries with cheesecake filling and mix gently by hand.
- Pour filling into crust in the springform pan. Top with halved cherries and blueberries.
- Freeze for 6 hours. Serve cold.
- Before cutting the cake, allow it to thaw for 15-20 minutes. It will be a little frozen but thawed enough to put a fork through. This cheesecake tastes refreshing when slightly chilled and must be served very cold or it will get mushy.
- Keep the cheesecake in the freezer with a loose layer of wrap stretched gently over its surface.
- If you are allergic to nuts, there are alternatives, such as tofu and coconut meat, however, not for this particular recipe. Both the crust and the filling are nut-based.
- Cocoa butter can be found in most organic health food supermarkets and gourmet health shops. It is sold in large chunks in the specialty baking section.