Remember Raw Cheesecake Experiment #1? I finally found the time and motivation to try making another raw cheesecake. Having learned a lot from my first attempt at making the cheesecake, I made adjustments to both the recipe and technique for my second attempt.
Raw ‘Cheese’cake: Part Deux
8 dates, pits removed
3/4 cup pecans
unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
pinch of salt
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup agave nectar — I used raw organic agave nectar this time
2/3 cup coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
unsweetened coconut flakes (optional but highly recommended, OH MY GOODNESS)
chocolate chips (optional)
On the day you are making the cheesecake, measure out your cashews and soak them in a big bowl. Rinse the nuts: I filled the bowl with water, let it sit for a minute, poured the water out and repeated that 3 times until the water was a little cleaner. I did this a couple more times over the three hours I had them soaking.
A little before the three hour mark, I measured out my pecans and then dropped my jar of coconut oil in a bowl with hot water. I popped the dates in the microwave for about 10 seconds so that I could easily get the pits out with my hands. I don’t think it’s necessary to soften them at all since that probably makes them more sticky and more difficult to deal with in the food processor.
To make the crust, stick all the pecans in the food processor and chop up those suckers. This is important. Once you add your dates, you’re basically screwed out of getting good-sized pecan bits. Once the pecans are in tiny little pieces, go ahead and process the dates. When you’re *almost* close to having it to desired texture, add a pinch of salt. When your crust mixture is done, get your cheesecake pan and sprinkle some coconut flakes evenly on the bottom of it. Then, smash your mixture in there. One thing to note — I will probably use a cup of pecans next time.
Now, the fun part. I used a blender for the filling again. I think I’ll try using a food processor for my next attempt. Anyway, drain the cashews. The blending method this time was to add a cup of cashews, add a liquid, add a cup of cashews, add a liquid, etc. It’s odd… I got frustrated because the cashews were just not breaking down into a creamy consistency, but (like the last time I made this) things seemed to magically get to a point where all the chunks were gone and I had my creamy nut filling. Mix about 1/4 cup of coconut flakes into the mixture if you desire.
Once your filling is ready, pour it into the pan. I poured it in about halfway and then decided to add some chocolate chips midway through. I found these mini chips at Whole Foods: they are dairy, nut, & soy free and are very delicious. Highly recommend! I also highly recommend that you be much more generous with the chocolate chips than I was. Next time, I’m seriously going to make it a layer of chocolate chips instead of this sorry sprinkle. Where was I now? Oh, yes. Pour the rest of the mixture into the pan and then even out the top.
‘Tis the season, so I thought it would be cute to decorate the top with chocolate chips in the shape of a snowflake. I clearly failed in my attempt. I stuck the cheesecake in the freezer to set for about 2 hours after which I placed it in the fridge.
Yummmm… this version turned out great! I think using pecans for the crust, adding the coconut flakes, and decreasing the lemon juice amount really made a difference. I cannot wait to try this out with some fruit or with a ton more chocolate chips. And I love that I can still brag that this is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free!
Hope you’re enjoying the holidays. Don’t forget to eat lots of veggies! –Melissa