Ever since I went vegan there was only one thing that could dampen my mood due to sheer food envy. Sitting across from someone who is eating a slice of New York cheese cake. I tried so hard to find a replacement that would satisfy me and after almost a year of research and failed attempts I developed this cashew cream cheesecake.
At heart I am a purist when it comes to food. Only the best ingredients work in a dish that is so simple and the basic ingredient of this dish is dairy. It seemed out of reach for a horrific time of never ending six months. And then it happened. I was sitting in a cafe in Cambridge and had a slice of vegan cheesecake. That was it. I had to have the recipe. I had to learn how to make this creamy piece of heaven. Frankly I could not convince the chef to give me the exact recipe but I did get the base ingredients. Cashews, lemon juice and coconut milk. It took me about a total of 8 batches to get something that is as close as it gets to my once beloved New York cheese cake.
Cashew Cream Cheesecake
For the base:
- 150 g almonds
- 125 g chopped dates or about 6 medjool dates
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 pinch of salt
For the cream cheese:
- 200 g cups cashews
- 80 ml coconut oil
- 125 ml coconut milk, full fat full fat
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 65 ml agave syrup
- Making the base: Put the ingredients for the base into the food processor and pulse until it resembles a crumbly texture. Be careful not to over process or you will end up with almond butter which in itself is extremely tasty but not what you want to make in this case. The reason for using coconut oil is that it solidifies at temperatures below 25°C (75°F) and this small amount of oil is already enough to hold the crust together.
- Now chose what you want to make your beautiful cashew cream cheesecake in. This can range from one big cake for which you want to choose a suitable form. Another option would be to use a muffin tin or you can use food rings as I prefer it.
- Food rings are by far the easiest choice and they come in various sizes. Place a piece of baking paper into a form big enough to hold all food rings you want to use and place the rings on top of it. Press the crust mixture into the rings. Put the tray aside an continue with the cream.
- Making the cream cheese: You need to soak the cashews in cold water for about 4-6 hours to soften them. If you are in a hurry same rule applies for all dried produce. You can reduce the soaking time by using hot water. Place the cashews in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 15 minutes. Do not cook them. Once the cashews are softened, pour away the excess water. This step is necessary if you want a silky smooth cashew cream because the soaking softens the cashews immensely.
- Now pour all the "cream cheese" ingredients into the food processor and blend at maximum speed until it is as creamy as you want it to be. It is as simple as that. Now spread it on top of the crust and off it goes into the freezer.
- Depending on the temperature setting it will take 2-5 hours to set. The cakes keep nicely in the freezer for about a month. Once taken out they keep well in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. I wouldn't recommend keeping them outside at room temperature for longer than two days.
- Once they are set you can simply push them trough the ring and either put them in a freezer bag and store for later use or put on the counter top to thaw for 30-60 minutes and serve them freshly made.