Taadaaa! I’m not going to lie – I’m pretty chuffed with my first attempt at a fully raw and healthy cheesecake. Who knew nuts, dates and berries could combine to form such indulgence. The more I research raw dessert recipes, the more amazed I am at both their simplicity and creativeness. When you can’t bake or heat your food – it may seem limiting at first – but once you master the basics of raw the variety of desserts are really endless.
Somewhat naively I decided to prepare this dessert for 5 of my girlfriends, who were dropping by for dinner. Casual positively turned to full-blown arm flapping panic when I realised the cake had to sit in the freezer for at least 5 hours. Crap. A shoeless high-speed grocery run and an hour or so of manic blending ensured I had this bad-boy prepped and in the freezer just on time. 5 hours later, and with a satisfying spring of the pan – the cake was ready and sliced up for the girls (who had sat patiently while I got creative with the iPhone). And gosh damn it was good.
Believe me when I say when it comes to raw desserts – the little extra effort it takes to stock up on ingredients and follow instructions is so worth it, when the result is sweet, rich treats that are actually good for you. I drew inspiration for this recipe from the lovely peeps over at The Rawtarian. Keen to try? Go for it.
Base / Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups natural unsalted macadamia nuts (or a combination of walnuts and macadamia nuts)
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 3 cups cashews
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup rice malt syrup (you can use agave or honey if you don’t have rice malt syrup, however rice malt syrup is less sweet and I think gives a better overall result!)
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon natural vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp warm water to help blending if necessary
Berry & Fig topping
- 2 cups frozen strawberries, blueberries or mixed berries
- 1/2 cup dates
- 2 fresh figs
- 2 tbsp warm water to help blend
- Sprinkle of dried, unsweetened coconut
1. Throw the macadamia nuts, salt and dates into your food processor. Blend until well processed but still a airy.
2. Get out your spring form pan (you can buy these really cheap from Coles or Woolies if you don’t own one already) and sprinkle the base with your coconut. This stops the cheesecake base from sticking to the pan – clever huh! press the date and macadamia nut mixture into the base of the pan with your fingers or the back or a spoon until firm. Try to get the base as level as possible.
3. Next, throw all your cheesecake filling ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Use a tiny bit of warm water to help with the blending if needed. Pour mixture on top of your base.
4. Place your base and filling in the freezer for 1 hour to firm.
5. In the meantime, prepare your berry topping! Blend frozen berries and dates. I added a little bit of warm water slowly through the process until it reaches a smooth and shiny consistency. Remove the base and filling from the freezer after 1 hour, and pour over berry topping.
6. Replace cheesecake back in the freeze for approximately 5 hours – or until it reaches your desired firmness. Before serving, remove cake from freezer and left defrost for half and hour to 45 minutes. Cut figs into quarters and place on the top of cake, with a sprinkle of coconut. (We couldn’t wait for a full defrosting and ate straight from the freezer – still amazing!).