Luscious Lemon Cheesecake {raw vegan recipe}

1-Raw-Slice-Lemon-Cheesecake

One of my favorite desserts is lemon cheesecake with an irresistibly luscious tangy lemon flavor. I'm not saying that because I want to tempt you with this raw vegan recipe, because even the best cheesecakes cannot compare to the fresh taste of this lemon cheesecake, so convincing is not necessary. Nothing but good stuff is involved here, though you'll think you're being naughty. 

I've tried several raw vegan versions of cheesecake recipes and came up with my own along the way. I will say that once you've tried cheesecake this way, it may become part of your kitchen repertoire. Forget the heavy amounts of fat and dairy. Cashews and coconut nourish that craving for something substantial and rich tasting. Sweetened with maple syrup (or honey), it's a far better way to satisfy your sweet tooth. My children love this as well, which makes me happy, though I do have to save a sliver of it to enjoy before they eat it all up. Don't worry about your basic kitchen skills either. All you need is a food processor or a high speed blender and a few basic ingredients.

The crumb of this cheesecake is made with dates and almonds. The dates can be very moist and replace both butter and sugar. The almond meal is your flour. That's all you need. 

The filling is a creamy, full-bodied "cheesecake" made with raw soaked cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest. 

Top with fresh raspberries for a festive and summery dessert.

1-Raw-Lemon-Berry-Cheesecake

LUSCIOUS LEMON CHEESECAKE

This lemony cheesecake is creamy, lemony tart, not too sweet and healthier than real cheesecake. Raw Vegan & Gluten Free. Enjoy!

Crust

  • 1 cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water if too dry, drained)

  • 1 cup raw almonds or almond meal

  • vanilla, just a splash

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in filtered water, drained

  • 3 large lemons, juice and zest

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)

Instructions

Add dates and almonds to a food processor and pulse blend until crumbly. If you are using almond meal, add in like flour. Remove and set aside. It will stick together when you form it into your tart pan. If it's too wet, add more almond meal while processing. Add more dates to make it moist. 

Lightly grease your tart pan with a light amount of coconut oil (or vegan butter).

Take handful amounts of crust and press it into the pan with your fingers, packing it down with your palm. My method of forming the crust against the fluted edge of the tart pan is done by using my thumbs to press it against the edge until it is uniformly shaped. Place in freezer to set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

1-Raw-Vegan-Cheesecake Crust

While the crust is setting in the freezer, make the filling. 

Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and mix until creamy. I use my Vitamix for this recipe. The full body texture of blended cashews gives it a velvety feel, with the addition of coconut cream to make it extra luscious. If it is too thick, add more lemon juice to help it blend. Don't worry, the mixture will thicken even more when it sets in the fridge. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter with enough pour to come out of the pitcher. If you are using a food processor for this step, scoop it out with a spatula and it should stick. Taste your filling. It should be tart and not too sweet. Adjust the flavor with more or less maple syrup/honey or lemon juice. In my opinion, the more lemony the better.

Take the crust out of the freezer and carefully pour the filling inside enough to fill to the rim. Don't over fill if you have extra leftover--- save the filling for making fruit topped parfaits or anything that you'd like. I think a spoonful of the extra cream with raspberries makes a perfect breakfast treat. 

Once the crust is filled, zest some extra lemon rind all over the cheesecake. You can also make candied lemon slices by drizzling thin slivers of lemon with maple syrup and letting them set in the fridge awhile. 

Place the cheesecake in the fridge to set. My method is to set it without plastic wrap so it doesn't ruin the texture of the cheesecake. Otherwise, the wrap will stick to the surface and cause it to come off when you remove the wrap. You can always freeze it later once the cheesecake has set. 

Delicious as it is or topped with fresh raspberries. Serve very cold. Slightly thawed cheesecake from the freezer is great for summertime entertaining or after family meals, just make sure it doesn't reach room temperature once you've left it out or it gets mushy. I like this served extra cold from the freezer and it cuts better that way. Enjoy!