By Chef: Ella Leché
Posted: January 16, 2018
Incredibly delicious and oh so indulgent yet nice and light – this raw berry cheesecake has it all. Such a burst of flavours with the creamy strawberry filling, raspberries and a raw cacao.
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts (or a mix of both)
- 8 large Medjool dates,
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons water
- pinch of himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- 2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 4 or more hours/ overnight)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup, maple syrup or honey
- 2 cups chopped strawberries* (1 pint, reserve about 6 strawberries for plating)
- 1 cup/ 1 can of the thick coconut milk from a can of coconut milk, must be cold from a fridge, divided from the watery milk
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup 72% dark or raw chocolate, melted for topping
- First, soak the cashews for 4 hours or more in the refrigerator, or overnight. (If you’re really pressed for time, I have cut the time for just 1 hour if I soak them in hot water at room temperature. But be careful, these really need to be used right away or else they become rancid quickly.)
- Line an 8 x 4′ pan with parchment paper, be sure to use a larger sheet so the paper sticks up the long sides. This will make it easier to remove the cheesecake when it’s done.
- To make the crust: In a food processor, pulse all the nuts, until a fine grind. Add in the dates, cacao powder and salt and continue mixing until crumbs form. Add one tablespoon of water at a time and continue mixing until the mixture starts to stick. Turn off mixer, and scoop out into the bottom of the pan, firmly and evenly**. Set the pan aside. Wipe the food processor with paper towel so it’s ready for the filling ingredients.
- To make the filling: Rinse and strain the cashews and place them into the food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form.
- Add in the strawberries, coconut milk, lemon juice and sweetener of choice. and continue processing on high until a very smooth mixture forms. While the food processor is running, pour in the melted coconut oil through the opening on top so that it blends evenly and the temperatures blend in smoothly.
- In the prepared pan with the base, scoop about 1 cup of the filling into the bottom. Drop the raspberries evenly and pour out the rest of the strawberry cashew mixture. Tap the pan to allow the mixture to settle and place in the freezer for about 2-4 hours to set.
- Once it is frozen, remove the cheesecake from the pan while it is still frozen. It will help to use a smooth knife and insert it between the cheesecake and pan on the edges to help it separate from the pan. Then, lift the parchment paper on opposite sides to lift the cheesecake out.
- Lay down on a flat surface and drizzle the top with melted chocolate. It’s best to cut this cheesecake when it’s still frozen as the berries will shift when cutting once thawed (unless you use frozen berries then it doesn’t matter). Then you can put them together and place in the pan again to defrost before serving.
- Each slice defrosts in just about 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Top with the extra fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
* You don’t actually need to chop the strawberries, however for measuring purposes this makes more sense as they fill up the cup more. The exact measurement is not very specific to the recipe. You’ll get a light strawberry colour and flavour with less and obviously darker with more. Roughly 2 cups is the ideal 🙂 ** Depending on the specific size of your pan, you may have too much base, if so, there’s no need to use up all of it. Just simply make a few balls and have those as a little snack while you continue 😉 This dessert is great to make far in advance and it’s so quick to thaw and serve. (keeps frozen, for up to 3 months, just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap once already frozen, then before thawing remove the wrap and slice when still frozen.)