RAW BLACKCURRANT CHEESECAKE 

Remember all those currants I told you about? We picked so many that those not destined for the crumble had to be frozen, along with our rhubarb crop. When we were blessed with some warm weather and sunshine this week, frozen fruit became an attractive prospect, and I took the opportunity to jump on the raw ‘cheesecake’ bandwagon. I’d seen a lot of recipes for raw, vegan desserts of this nature but was always somewhat sceptical — after all, it can’t actually taste like cheesecake, can it? — so I decided to give it a go.

Here’s what I learnt:

  1. it’s a more time consuming and complicated thing to make than an actual cheesecake, but isn’t especially difficult
  2. it doesn’t taste like cheesecake
  3. it tastes really good in its own right
  4. worth it.

While I might therefore dispute the use of the ‘cheesecake’ term, it did turn out as a really delicious dessert which my very non-raw, non-vegan family all enjoyed, and one that we could feel good about eating. (According to MyFitnessPal, one slice contains 17% of your GDA of iron, 11% of your calcium, 16% of your potassium, 21% of your protein, 21% of your fibre, and 121% of your vitamin C.)

Makes 10-12 slices

Ingredients

base:

  • 150g almonds
  • 150g pecans
  • 200g dates
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

filling:

  • 200g cashews
  • 200g macadamias
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp almond milk
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 150g frozen black currants

to top:

  • 250g frozen black currants

Method

  1. Soak the macadamias and cashews. I recommend doing this for at least 12 hours; I actually left mine for a good two and a half days because my blender is quite old and not very powerful. If you have a super powerful blender then you can get away with less soaking time.
  2. When you’re ready to make the ‘cheesecake’, grease an 8inch/20cm springform cake tin with coconut oil.
  3. In a food processor, process the almonds and pecans for the base for about a minute until broken down, then add the dates, coconut oil and salt. Keep pulsing until everything is smooshed together.
  4. Press the mixture down firmly into the bottom of the tin, using the back of a spoon to make sure it’s all evenly distributed. Put it in the freezer to set while you make the filling.
  5. Drain and rinse the macadamias and cashews, then add them to a blender along with the maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk, lemon juice and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Blend until everything is perfectly smooth and creamy
  6. Scrape out 350g of this mixture and set aside. Leave the rest inside the blender and add the frozen black currants, and blend again until they are all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Pour/scrape the blackcurrant mix into the tin on top of the base, and use a spatula to spread it evenly and smoothly. Then pour on the reserved 350g of vanilla mix, and spread that on top (if you want to be sure the colours won’t mix, return the tin to the freezer for 30 minutes before adding the final layer – I didn’t bother though and it was fine.) Finally, place the 250g frozen black currants on top for decoration.
  8. Freeze for at least two hours. I recommend keeping it in the freezer generally, but take it out and put in the fridge to defrost slightly about an hour before you wish to serve. You want it firm, but not frozen.

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