Raw Citrus Poppyseed Cheesecake
Sometimes we just have to tackle things that scare us. I remember back in high school when I was in track I used to run sprints. I told people that I would never run distance because I didn't believe I could...little did I know that I would switch over to running the 2 mile by my Senior year and actually be decent at it! I had to take the step and risk failing at those longer distances in order to discover I was good at them...certainly better than I was at sprinting (I was pretty slow).
Now, looking back I am thankful I took the step into distance running as I cannot stand to run less than 5 miles when I run and the 10k happens to be my favorite race distance (nowhere near those 100m I used to safely hang onto). And so it is with many things in life. Chances must be taken and we must jump when we are scared to once in a while in order for the good things in life to find us! We would miss out on many passions, successes and relationships if we just stayed comfortable all the time.
This weekend I decided to tackle a food fear of mine...creating a raw vegan cheesecake! I had been encouraged to make one and decided to go for it considering I have always wanted to try making one but it has intimidated me in the past. I looked at plenty of recipes, and decided on a cashew based cheesecake. I went for a citrus poppy seed cheesecake, because I have so much citrus laying around my kitchen right now it is not even funny!
For the crust I decided to use almonds sweetened with a little soft dates and enhanced with a smidge of sea salt. It was nutty and delicious...of course I sampled it before pressing it into the pan to make sure it would be up to my standards! For the filling I used raw cashews soaked overnight (as this seems to be the most common filling for raw vegan cheesecakes), combined with coconut oil, coconut nectar to sweeten. I wanted there to be plenty of citrus flavor so I used both juice and zest of oranges lemons and limes along with a bit of vanilla bean for a delicious fragrance. I have to say it was the easiest cheesecake filling I have made...whir it up in the food processor and voila! Lastly poppy seeds were folded in before pouring into the crust.
I loved that there was no need for baking, simply putting it in the fridge and waiting for it to set up. It needed some adornment however because I like my cheesecakes to be pretty so I created a "whipped cream" of sorts from more soaked cashews and some young coconut meat with a bit of vanilla bean and coconut nectar...it was better than real whipped cream! More importantly though, it did the trick for making my cake pretty with a bit of piping around the edges! But the real test would be how would the cheesecake taste? I have a very high cheesecake standard. It was amazing! It was creamy and luscious...citrusy and lightly sweet with vanilla...the crust nutty and crunchy! I was in heaven...and the best part was I felt really good after eating a large slice...not heavy like with regular cheesecake. I can honestly say...I don't know why I was so afraid of raw vegan cheesecake! It was way more simple than its dairy filled sister. I am glad I took a chance on this one and I will be making more of them in the near future! If you would like to enjoy some for yourself, here is the recipe!
Raw Citrus Poppy Seed Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 Tbsp organic orange zest
- 1 Tbsp organic lemon zest
- 1/2 Tbsp organic lime zest
- 1/3 cup raw coconut nectar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping
- 1 1/2 Tbsp black poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat
- 2 tablespoons raw coconut nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and seeds of half a vanilla bean (the other half of the one you used for the filling)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
- Oil a six inch spring form pan with coconut oil and set aside.
- To prepare the crust, process almonds and sea salt in a food processor until the almonds are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside
- To make filling, drain cashews and combine all ingredients (except poppy seeds) in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Stir in poppy seeds and pour over crust in pan and set in the freezer or fridge until it is set, 4 hours or overnight.
- 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 on top of and around the cheesecake.
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