Fun cooking for me is like therapy. When I say fun cooking, I mean playing around with recipes and creating new things. I love it, I prioritise it, but sometimes when you are caught up in the whirl wind of busy life it’s difficult to make time for it. It is most likely someone else’s hell, but hey, we celebrate our differences. This last week I have been withholding any ‘fun / experimental’ cooking until I met a couple of deadlines in other projects. I was so happy with my achievements that I had to make cake. I wanted to try a dairy free cheesecake. I am not normally a huge fan of these, and I think it’s because mostly they are made completely raw, and so have quite a sweet base of dates and nuts of some combination. That, and the ‘cheesecake’ portion is usually too sweet and rich, for me anyway. I’m pretty happy with this version though.
But how do you make a cheese-like cake with no dairy? Cashews! These gorgeous nuts lend us their rich, luscious texture; and come close to creating that mouth feel that only cheese can give. Mix this with a hefty whack of blueberries, tart it up with some lemon juice and a few friends, and you have a banging crowd-pleasing dessert. Even the die-hard dairy hubby approved!
And what makes this little darling even more special, is that it comes with a complementary side of phytonutrients, antioxidants, magnesium, good fats, vitamin C and deliciousness – score!
A word of advice. If this is your first attempt at a dairy free cheesecake, don’t cut down on the volume. You need a certain amount of stuff in your blender to achieve a smooth consistency. I made two small cakes, but you can easily adapt this to make a large cake, or smaller cupcake sized ones.
Delicious Dairy Free Blueberry and Lemon Cheesecake
For the base:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dessicated coconut, or flakes blitzed up in the blender
1/2 cup almonds
5 tbs coconut oil, melted
2 tbs maple syrup or honey
1 tbs almond or nut butter
1 tbs chia seeds soaked in a cup in 3 tbs water for 5-10 minutes
For the cheesecake:
2 heaped cups blueberries (I used frozen)
1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
4 tbs coconut oil, melted
zest from 1/2 a lemon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a blender or food processor, blitz up the oats until they are like breadcrumbs. Transfer to a food processor and add coconut and almonds. Pulse to combine and break down the almonds a bit. Add all other base ingredients except the chia and pulse to combine.
Give the chia a good stir, it should be a gloompy mess by now. Add in about half of your chia to the mix and process to combine. Press the mix together, you want it to hold together quite well when you do this. If it doesn’t, add the rest of the chia and combine.
Grease your tin with a little coconut oil. Press your base into your chosen tin. I recommend using a spring form tin. If you want to make them cupcake size, you will need to press the base into patty pans. You will have some mix leftover – if you don’t end up just eating this straight from the food processor, you can make cute biscuits! Just pop into the oven at the same time on a lined baking tray until golden on top.
Pop your base into the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
For the cheesecake, if you have time, soak your cashew for 2-4 hours. Rinse well and drain. If you don’t have time, add the cashews to a dry blender, and blitz to a fine powder.
Add all ingredients except the lemon zest to a blender and blend until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides a couple of times. As the blueberries melt, this will become easier, so take your time.
Pour the mix over the base, and pop into the fridge to set for a couple of hours. When you are ready to serve, add a few extra berries, and a generous dusting of lemon zest.
And there you have it! Feel free to make it your own my changing up the berries, or adjusting the sweetener to your liking.
I know I am in the middle of the wholefood pantry series, but I had to include this little diversion…I hope you don’t mind!
Much joy and deliciousness. x