Vegan Cherry Cheesecake
I saved the best for last. This is that little sliver of something you need to finish a meal perfectly. Also, everything in it is actually good for you! It is decadent without being heavy and easy to make, since there is nothing to cook or bake. Perfect for a hot summer’s day.You throw around the terms raw and vegan when talking about a dessert and some people may groan. So just think of this as a cheese-less cheesecake. Or sell it to your guests as the “ultimate cherry cream pie.” The combination of puréed cashews, fresh lemon juice and coconut oil will give you that same luscious cream cheese cheesecake consistency. Very nutrient dense, so a little of this goes a long way.Another one of the many reasons why I love this recipe is that it can also be served right out of the freezer on a hot day, like a layered ice cream cake.
- springform pan
- food processor or blender
For the crust
- 1 cup raw walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed pitted Mejool dates
For the Vegan Cheesecake
- 3 cups raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
- 2 cups pitted fresh or frozen thawed cherries
- Grease a springform pan with coconut oil and line with a parchment circle to fit the bottom.
- In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, coconut, hemp hearts and salt until coarsely ground. Add in dates and continue to pulse 1–2 minutes, or until you have a wet sandy mixture that sticks together when pressed with fingers. Transfer crust mixture to the bottom of the pan and with fingers or the back of a spoon press to make into a single, even layer.
- To make the cheesecake, drain and rinse soaked cashews. Add cashews and all other ingredients except the cherries into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Pour two-thirds of this mixture onto the crust and level with a small offset spatula or the back of spoon.
- Add cherries to the leftover cashew mixture and blend until smooth. Pour onto cheesecake and level to make an even layer.
- Cover cake with plastic wrap and freeze for at least2 hours. Remove cake from springform pan sides when frozen. Let sit it the fridge to thaw for at least 30 minutes before serving. Can also be served frozen.
Substitutions: No cherries? Just substitute with 2 cups (500 mL) of any other fruit that’s in season. Tizz’s Tips: If you want to get fancy, like in this photo, take a third of the vanilla-cashew mixture and reserve, then blend the remainder with the cherries. Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of this cherry mixture for decoration and use the rest as your bottom cherry layer. Freeze until set, about an hour. Carefully pour and level the vanilla- cashew layer next. Pipe dots of the cherry mixture on top and swirl with a toothpick to your liking.
Photograph by Reena Newman, Props by Laura Branson