July 1, 2016

Raw Lemon Cheesecake with Berries

In my own personal ‘Brexit’ I seem to be making a habit of leaving America for July 4th.  Its completely unintentional, other than avoiding the three digit July heat, but last year pregnant with a half American baby and this year back with his 7 months of American-ness in tow, it’s fun to do something red, white and blue for the occasion.  And I’ll take any excuse for a raw dessert.  Any.

This is one of our all time favourite desserts and the one that we rustle up for most occasions in one form or another, and it really is pretty easy to make. It can be adapted for a dinner party to be in mini form in a cupcake pan, or cut into squares for easy to grab freezer treats, or in slices with berries for a fab dessert. That’s what we’re doing for July 4th. It uses a nut, seed and date crust and then cashews as the base for the creamy cheesecake layer. When they are soaked and blended they make a wonderful creamy cheese replacement!  This year Clayton (@thewholefoodbaby) will also be getting some simple pancakes and berries to mark the occasion,because even in England, his first July 4th can’t go uncelebrated.

 

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Crust:

2 cups almonds
1/2 cup ground flax seed (or more almonds)
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp extract)
A good pinch of pink salt
10 dates (or more as needed)

For the Filling:

2-3 cups cashews, soaked 2+ hours
1 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup raw honey (or maple syrup for a vegan version)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp extract)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 5 good sized lemons

Directions:

Place all the crust ingredients bar the dates, into a good food processor and pulse them until the nuts are breadcrumb sized. Add in the dates and continue to pulse until the mixture will hold its shape when you press it between your fingers.

Line the base of an 8-10″ springform pan with baking parchment and press the crust firmly down into the base. Place the crust in the freezer. Depending on what size pan you use you’ll just end up with a thicker or thinner crust and ‘cheese’ layer. I prefer a thicker crusted, taller cheesecake so I like a smaller pan!

Next place the soaked cashews in the food processor with the coconut oil and blend until they are completely smooth and creamy. (Note: Don’t leave the cashews in the fridge to soak or they will turn the coconut oil solid when you blend them together!)

Then add in the honey, vanilla, and about half of the lemon zest and rind and blend those together. I recommend adding the remainder of the lemon to taste, I like things really citrusy and tart but add until it tastes the way you like!

Then pour the creamy lemon mixture over the crust and smooth it out. To get it completely smooth gently shake the pan from side to side and then give it a good tap on a work surface. It should finish up completely smooth. Now it’s ready to go back in the freezer to set. I recommend leaving it for at least 4 hours but the best is overnight. Then just pop it out of the freezer 15 minutes before you want to eat it so it can soften slightly.

If you want to make it and eat it right away, the filling is delicious dolloped into a bowl and simply topped with the ‘base’ crumbled over the top along with berries. Delicious.

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