Well, it’s happened. I’ve officially been seduced by a few beautiful Instagram feeds that feature what one poster calls “rawsome treats”. I’ll admit it. I have been known to hop on board every food trend willingly all of my adult life, because I am inspired by food and all the interesting forms it can take. I love that a certain combination of foods can make you feel a certain way, and I love that so many people are trying to figure out what their personal formula for optimal overall health, gut health, skin glow, or general happiness is. I also love that with the advent of social media, we get to be witness to these experiments, and perhaps try a few ourselves!
As I’ve journeyed through the low fat craze of the 90’s to being a proselytizing vegetarian (of the carob-chip cookie variety while going to college in Boulder, no less), arriving in the farming world a staunch supporter of grass fed everything (from butter to delicious four-legged creature), to dabbling in every craze in-between and, yes, even paleo – I’ve finally come home to what I’ve been orbiting around all along:
I am happily back on the bean & rice train, ample multi-ingredient salads, occasional meats, and tons of fruit. Whole grains float my boat, and yes, I love nuts and especially coconut. It seems that my natural cravings have finally come of age, even in the realm of sweets!
Enter the plant-based dessert. I must admit, I’m pretty giddy about the potential for some real innovation, inspiration and turning some conventions upside-down here. For my first installment on this topic, I present to you the cashew cheesecake! I don’t even really want to call it a cheesecake – it’s so much more elegant than the heavy, dairy rich cookie crust sugar bomb we all know and cringeingly love – this is light, nourishing, creamy, silky, full of flavor and nuance, and, dare I say, healthy?! I think you’re gonna love it, and I know you’re going to feel like a kitchen wizard once you make it and then you’re going to feel no guilt when you share it with your loved ones because you gave them something beautiful that’s good for them. Or, maybe you kept it all to yourself and didn’t share it, either way – I’d say you’re in the clear in the guilt department. Go ahead, make it, this might just become your own personal fad.
Creamy dreamy cake of your cakey dreams
Makes 2 small springform pans or one 8″ pie plate or one 7″ springform pan
Inspiration from mynewroots.org
- 1/2 c. Pecans or almonds or a mixture of both
- 1/2 c. Pitted dates
- Pinch sea salt
- 1-1/2 cups cashews (soaked overnight and drained before use)
- 1/3 c. Coconut oil
- 1/3 c. Honey
- 1 c. Raspberries (fresh or thawed frozen)
- 1 tsp. Almond or vanilla extract
Blend together in a food processor the pecans and/or almonds with the dates and salt until they are a semi-fine consistency. Press the mixture into the bottom of your pan (I used a glass). If you are using a pie plate, line first with plastic wrap.
Warm coconut oil and honey together in a small saucepan on the stove.
In the most powerful blender you own (Vitamix is the star here, but I don’t have that so I used my mother-in-law’s hand-me-down Osterizer with great results!), dump the cashews, extract and warmed liquids and blend until creamy. If you need to add a little water so it blends better, go right ahead.
Pour 2/3 of this creamy dreamy filling into your shell and smooth the top and sides with a spatula.
Blend the remaining 1/3 of the filling with the raspberries until there are no chunks. Pour this beautiful pink filling on top of your first layer. Smooth it as before.
Freeze on a tray to keep level until completely solid; approximately 4-6 hours.
Cut, serve, eat!
I think I’m going to store it in the freezer for now, though I suspect once it’s set, the fridge would be fine.
It’s beautiful, delicious, the texture is so creamy, and – it’s made up nearly entirely of plants, which I think is pretty rad! The flavor combinations are endless here, so go crazy and don’t forget to tell me all about it! Better yet, let’s share a slice! Enjoy!