Cashew Coconut Cheesecakes (raw and gluten free)

Cashew cheesecakes

Cashew Coconut Cheesecakes

I brought these into the office today. It was cake day  – ie coworker’s birthday, and per tradition, there must be cake. So we ordered the fancy (eggy, floury) cake from the bakery and the office mates were pleased. I work in a small office, and each birthday, the  8 of us sit around the conference table, ritualistically passing down the cake. No one leaves until we’ve each made a whole hearted attempt to get it down. Rather than attracting attention to myself by sullenly watching everyone eat their cake as they avoid eye contact with the dietary-restriction-girl, I decided to face the day head on and bring these tarts in as an alternative.  If I have to attract attention to myself either way, I’d much rather it go down with these than with awkward cakelessness.

These lovelies are adapted from the Minimalist Baker. I have gobs of recipes from their site cluttering my bookmarks list. I need easy access to them at all times so I basically keep them on speed dial.

Cheesecakes variety

Makes 12 muffin tin cheesecakes

Note: Take into account the four hour soak time for the cashews. The cheesecakes require at least an hour to set in the freezer. Ideally they should be chilled in the fridge overnight to set.

I made a variety pack – some lemon, some chocolate. I just left the chocolate out of the cream to make perfect lemon cheesecakes, and changed up the toppings on each.

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 1 cup moist pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sea salt

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (pre-soak in water for 4 hours, then drain)
  • 1/4 cup juice of lemon, plus zest
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 TB cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

Topping:

  • Coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • Blueberries
  • Lemon zest
  • Hazelnuts
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1 TB cocoa powder
    *toppings are a personal thing – feel free to make coconut whip, or add pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, strawberries…the options are  endless!

I was in a pinch for time, so I used these pre-packaged parchment paper liners. You can also create your own by cutting circles out of parchment.

parchment cupcake liners

PROCESS

  1. Start with the crust. Blend the dates in a a food processor until they are a chunky ball of goop. Set aside.
  2. Process the oats and walnuts until they are the texture of coarse meal. Add the dates and vanilla until it resembles dough.
  3. Press dough 1/4″ high into parchment lined tins and chill in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.

cheesecake crusts

4. If you haven’t done so already, make your lemon zest to save for the topping.
5. Put all filling ingredients except for the cocoa powder (for now) in high powered blender and blend until creamy. Pour half of the filling over the crusts in the tin to make your lemon cheesecakes.
6. Add cocoa powder to the remaining filling and blend for a few more seconds. Pour onto the remaining crusts.

IMG_5595   IMG_5596

7. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or freeze for 1 to 2 hours to speed up the firming.

8. Once cheesecakes have set, add the toppings. Some ideas:

  • Toast the hazelnuts and coconut flakes in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes. Add on top of either chocolate or lemon cheesecakes.
  • Make a chocolate glaze by melting the coconut oil on low heat and adding honey and cocoa powder, and drizzling on the chocolate cheesecakes.
  • Add lemon zest and blueberries to the white lemon cheesecakes.

IMG_5611 IMG_5614 IMG_5617 IMG_5619

You can eat these out of the fridge for a soft creamy texture, or out of the freezer they’re like little ice cream tarts. They’ll keep in the freezer for a few weeks.
Disclaimer: Don’t let the clean ingredients fool you. These are indulgent addictive little treats. Enjoy!

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