Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Raw Berry Cheesecake

In June I made a raw (no baking/cooking) cheesecake for Father's Day - I used raspberries from my garden; however, you can use any berries you like. This type of option is vegan, so it is perfect if you can't eat dairy! I find it tastes better the next day as the flavours have fully developed.

I have adapted this recipe from Fragrant Raw Vanilla's Raw Strawberries and Cream Dream Cake (http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/raw-strawberries-and-cream-dream-cake.html). I actually made her Strawberries and Cream Dream Cake for my sister's birthday, boy was that cake massive... it was gigantic! I thought it would be nice to use the idea as a base for making something more everyday (i.e. smaller and cheaper!).

Raw Raspberry Cheesecake


Base -

1/2 cup of pine nuts or almonds or cashews
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup of shredded coconut (dessicated coconut in the UK - ensure no preservatives)
9 or 10 medjool dates (stones removed)

Cheese, Coulis and Topping - 

1 and 3/4 cup of cashew nuts (see note below)
1/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup of coconut sugar (e.g. TIANA Premium Organic Crystalised Raw Coconut Nectar)
1/4 cup gently warmed coconut oil (I warm the jar over some hot water and then pour some out into my measuring cup)
2 to 3 cups of berries (e.g. raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 small piece (e.g. matchbox size) of peeled raw beet (beetroot in the UK)


Important - the cashews must be soaked overnight:
  1. Place the cashew nuts in a glass bowl, cover with cold water, cover with a plate or cling film/saran wrap and leave to soak overnight. 
  2. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and set aside. 
To make the base:
  1. Brush the inside of a 6-7 inch loose bottomed pan with warmed coconut oil.
  2. Place the first 3 crust ingredients together in a food processor and blitz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Add 9 of the medjool dates to the food processor mixture and process it. 
  4. Take a pinch of the mixture and see if it will stick together when pressed between your thumb and index/pointer finger. If it it is too crumbly, add the 10th medjool date to the food processor and process again. If it already sticks together well, remove the food processor blade and then tip the base mixture into the loose bottomed pan and use the back of a spoon to press the mixture down firmly until it resembles the base of a cheesecake. You may now put this to one side while you make the 'cheese'.
To make the cheese:

  1. Set aside some of the berries for the topping - (estimate how many you will want/need to put on top).
  2. Set aside another 1/2 a cup of berries for the coulis. 
  3. Take the soaked and drained cashews and place them in your clean food processor. Add the coconut water, coconut sugar and the vanilla. Process.
  4. Take a spatula and scrape any unprocessed mixture off the sides of the food processor bowl. Process again.
  5. Add the berries (not including the 2 amounts set aside for the top and the coulis) and beet, and process again.
  6. Take a spatula and scrape any unprocessed mixture off the sides of the food processor bowl. Process again. The mixture should be a uniform colour and look creamy/smooth.
  7. Pour the mixture into your pan on top of the base. Smooth it over with a spatula so the top is even. Set to once side while you make the coulis.
To make the coulis:
  1. Take the 1/2 cup of berries you set aside, and blend them in either a blender or clean food processor bowl with some sweetener of your choice (coconut nectar, or agave etc) to make a coulis. You shouldn't need much sweetner, I add a little and then taste the coulis, before adding more if necessary.
  2. Take the coulis and spoon it over the top of the cheesecake. It should just cover it - you may need to smooth it over a little.
  1. Now take the whole berries you set aside. If you have strawberries you may wish to halve/quarter or slice them - for raspberries and blueberries you can keep them whole. Neatly place the berries on top of the coulis so that you have a berry topping - see the picture at the top of this recipe.
  2. Carefully put the cheesecake pan on a plate, then cover the pan with another plate to protect the top of the cheescake. Place the whole thing in the freezer for at least 4 hours so it can set.
To Serve - 

Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and allow it to defrost for 10 to 20 minutes. Take a spatula or other thin knife, and run it around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan. Have a serving plate ready and preferably someone else to help you: as you press upwards on the loose bottom, the pan will come loose so it helps to have someone else to grab that while you hold onto the bottom of the pan/cheescake. Once you have put the cheesecake on the plate, allow to soften (defrost) further before eating... everyone has their own preference at which stage of defrosting they prefer the cake. I find it tastes better the next day as the flavours have fully developed.


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