Friday, 14 August 2015

Daring Cooks August 2015: Raw Vanilla 'Cheesecake' with Date Caramel Sauce

For the August challenge Susan from The Kiwi Cook dared us to make healthy and wholesome raw ‘cheesecakes’ with no cream cheese in sight!
So with the idea of clean eating all over the internet I was really keen to try this recipe. To be honest I didn't think much to it, for me it was too nutty and not a patch on proper cheesecake. It was also a bit of a pain to make, I don't have anything anywhere near as powerful as a nutribullet so I had a real problem making things smooth enough. It reminded me of Indian sweets which are also really nutty. Anyway it's always good to try something once, even if it's only to find out that I wouldn't bother making it again!

Raw Vanilla 'Cheesecake' with Date Caramel Sauce
(Makes 6 small cheesecakes)
For the base:
1/2 cup (120ml) (85 gm) (3 oz) raw almonds, either with skins on or blanched (pecans or walnuts will also work)
Optional: 1/2 cup (120 ml) (38 gm) (1.3 oz) flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup (120 ml) (77 gm) (2.7 oz) soft pitted Medjool dates
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, melted (or as needed)

For the filling:
1½ cups (375ml) (225gm) (8 oz) raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 5 hours or overnight
Juice of 1 lemon (two tablespoons worth) (30 ml)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Optional: 1 teaspoon Savoury Yeast Flakes (Nutritional Yeast) - this adds a ‘cheesy’ flavour
1/3 cup(80 ml) raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup(80 ml) to taste of pure maple syrup, raw honey (solid or liquid), or agave nectar
Water: up to 6 tablespoons (90 ml)

For the date-caramel sauce
1 cup (240 ml) (154 gm) (5.4 oz) loosely packed pitted Sayer or Medjool dates
1-1/4 cup (300 ml) water (warm or hot is best)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2½ to 3 teaspoon (12 to 15ml) pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3.8 gm) baking powder
(Optional): 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) chia seeds (don’t add if you want a very smooth sauce)

For the base:
Place all the ingredients (except the coconut oil) in a food processor and pulse to chop until they are to your desired texture (process longer for a finer texture).

Test the base by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your base is perfect. If it’s not quite there yet, add up to a tablespoon of coconut oil until the texture is right.

Divide base mixture into a lightly greased 6 or 12 hole muffin tin (I made six cheesecakes as my muffin pan holes are quite deep). Otherwise, if you have doubled or tripled the recipe, pour the mixture into an 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) spring-form cake pan.

Press the mixture firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the surface is even. If making ahead, you can pop the bases into the freezer.
For the filling:
Warm the coconut oil in a small saucepan or fry-pan on low heat until melted (if you’re using solid honey, add it to the coconut oil at the same time and then whisk to combine).
In your most powerful food processor/blender place all filling ingredients, including the melted coconut oil (and melted honey, if using).

Pulse initially to break down the nuts, then blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes and you may need to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the blender). If the mixture is too thick and it’s not blending smoothly, add a little water (up to 6 tablespoons (90 ml) may be necessary) and continue to process until smooth – the end result should be thick and gloopy (not runny). Give it a taste to check on its flavour and adjust as needed.

Divide the vanilla filling onto the bases in the muffin tin.

Place the pan into the freezer for at least two hours until the cheesecakes are solid.

To make the date caramel sauce: Pulse then blend all ingredients together in a food processor until very smooth (a few minutes). Scrape down sides and blend again for 30 seconds.


To serve, remove cheesecake/s from freezer at least 30 minutes prior to eating and remove from the muffin or cake pan.

Serve the individual cheesecakes on separate serving plates. Or, if you have made a full-sized cake, run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.

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