I was quite excited when I got my hands on a bag of fresh organic cherries last weekend. I love eating them just plain, even if I have to spit out the pits. But it wasn't always this way. I used to dislike cherries, because I thought they were all like the overly sweetened canned pie filling. It always tasted tinny to me for some reason. So, when I tasted a real fresh cherry as an adult, my eyes were opened.
Now, whenever cherry season hits, I get excited! I don't mind sitting and pitting them by hand for their use in pies, tarts, or crumbles...even if I don't have a cherry pitter. It gives me time to sit and do something relaxing, and even enjoy a few in the process.
I love the combination of cherry and lime, but I have never combined the two in a dessert, just a drink. So, I decided that it was about time, and I married them in a scrumptious cheesecake!
I wanted layers of flavor so on top of a pecan crust, I poured the tart lime filling, then a layer of sweet cherry puree, then a beautiful pink cherry vanilla cream layer. It was quite lovely, but not too lovely to dive into.
I have a feeling if there were cherry desserts like this around when I was a kid, I would have fallen in love with cherries the first time I tried them!
Mini Raw Cherry Lime Cheesecakes
Makes four 4 inch cheesecakes
3/4 cup pecans
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 3/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp organic lime zest
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Lime juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1 cup fresh organic cherries, pitted
1/2 cup organic cherries
1 Tbsp agave nectar
8 whole cherries
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
Lightly coat four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process pecans and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottoms
of the prepared pans, and set aside.
To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, lime juice, and zest, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Remove the filling from the food processor, and divide evenly between 2 bowls. Place half back into the food processor and add one cup of cherries. Puree until smooth and scrape back in the bowl. For the cherry puree, using an immersion blender (or you can rinse out the food processor) combine the cherries and 1 Tbsp agave nectar and puree until smooth. Set aside.
To assemble the cheesecake, pour the lime vanilla filling over the crusts, then a little of the cherry puree, then the cherry filling. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge.
To make topping, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the top of the cheesecake. Spread some of the cherry puree over the top of the cake. Top with a couple cherries. Store leftover cake in the fridge.