Raw Vegan Cheezecake!

This is my very first attempt at an actual raw recipe.  I have checked out raw books from the library numerous times, I even have a copy of Ani Pho’s Raw Food Kitchen (that the husband picked up for me at a thrift store for $2.50), but I have never actually made anything.  Part of it is the fact that I am really committed to (or, perhaps more appropriately, obsessed with) eating locally and in season as far as fruits and veggies go.  Also, so many of the recipes call for a crapton of nuts, and nuts (if you go organic, which I do) can be so expensive.

But…I have finally dipped my toe into the world of raw cooking, and it came back covered in cheezecake!  Ok, that sounds really gross.  Anyway.

I made a slightly modified version of this Mini Upside-down Blackberry Cheezecake from Sarafae’ over at Addicted to Veggies.  The original post can be found here:  http://www.addictedtoveggies.com/2010/09/mini-upside-down-blackberry-cheezecake.html

Here it is with revisions I made:

Step 1. Cheezecake Cream

2  c Cashews – soaked for 2 to 4 hours

2 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
12 Medjool Dates – soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, pits removed
1/2 c Coconut Oil
1/2 c Water
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
Puree until very-very smooth. Set aside.
Step 2. Raspberry Puree/Topping
1/2 c Raspberries – **Set these aside for later
Into Blender or Food Processor combine the following:
3/4 c Raspberries – These are for the sauce
5 to 6 Medjool dates – soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, pits removed
1/4 c Water
Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Step 3. Cheesecake Crust
3/4 c almonds
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Plain Date paste
Puree until an even crumble. Set aside.

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I used all cashews for the cream, since I had a big bag of them, and I used almonds for the crust ’cause I don’t dig on walnuts all that much.  In blending the nuts, etc., for the cream, I really was wishing I had the long-coveted Vitamix – I know if would have come out much creamier, and quicker.  But it worked ok in the trusty Ham Beach  food processor.  I also used raspberries instead of blackberries, since I have bags and bags of frozen raspberries that the husband and I picked this summer.

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I’m a little grumpy about the photos, since they are all dark kitchen flashy, but when it gets dark at 5pm, that’s what I have to work with.  😦

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Cashews, almonds, dates (they looked kind of gross soaking!), and apparently radioactive raspberries!!  (And, aww, you can see my Farm Sanctuary turkeys in the corner!)

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The crust – it was SO good.  I wasn’t sure about the cinnamon at first, but it really worked.  Yum!

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Assembled and ready to chill for a few hours.

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Freshly out of the freezer – that raspberry is so bright!  I think it’s quite pretty.

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I wanted a pic before I put on the topping and it got all messy – I think it looks darn cute.   This will probably be my dessert offering for Thanksgiving dinner.

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with topping

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slice with topping

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It was pretty tasty overall.  The only complaint was that the coconut flavor from the coconut oil was just a little too strong – while the husband hates coconut, I like it a lot, but it was a strong flavor even for me.  I’m going to have to do some research into what I could use instead.  All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my first raw cooking venture – it tasted good, was a bit of a process but nothing too elaborate, and it looks lovely on the plate!

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(I don’t know what is up with the formatting weirdness, but I can’t seem to fix it, and I just have to quit trying before my raw cheezecake mellow is totally destroyed!)

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