This is the easiest, quickest, healthiest, and most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever had! And it’s not even a cheesecake; it only pretends to be one. It plays its role very well – if you don’t know, you can’t tell! Ooops, I didn’t mean to rhyme, it sort of happened.
Years ago, I thought that was a perfect cheesecake recipe. With some chocolate, of course (to see my Rules of Dessert, click here). Then cheese devised a conspiracy with eggs, and together they abandoned my life. Who was there to console me but Toffuti, my best friend! Take me, it cried, use me, believe me – I can be a cheesecake if I try really hard! So we tried together, Toffuti and I, with fruit and berries, and all kinds of flavorings, and it was good, it really was, but it wasn’t a cheesecake. I would end up hiding a little schmear of Toffuti Better than Cream Cheese under a heap of mixed berries with a strong flavor of mint to top it up.
I was worse than these two ladies – I din’t care what it looked like, as long as it tasted like cheesecake. But it didn’t, nothing did. Until I found a slew of recipes using soaked cashews to make a cream, or a paste. My first experiment, a carrot cake with cashew cream, was hugely successful. Now I could bravely venture into the cheesecake territory!
The crust was a no-brainer: pulverized Medjool dates with walnuts, a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon. Been there, done that (to see Brownie on a Date, please click here). But in my book, it’s not a dessert if it’s not chocolate, so some unsweetened cocoa powder corrected this situation. Whenever I make a dates and walnuts crust, I freeze it for about 10 – 20 minutes, just to help it settle down. You know, like you say to your kids, “Cool it! Settle down!”
Now, the important part – the no-cheese cheesecake filling. I had my pre-soaked cashews and some lemon juice, which is how I make a cashew paste. To that, I added half a cup of each: olive oil, fresh blueberries, coconut milk, and blue agave. Why half a cup of each? You are asking the wrong person! I am not into math, so I just choose the easiest measurements possible, and it usually works. It definitely worked this time, but feel free to adjust according to your taste.
You throw it all into your trusty food processor, press a button, and don’t forget to scrape the sides. Pulverize it until it gets really smooth and creamy, like – well, like a cheesecake! It did come out a bit liquidy, so I poured it into the crust and sent it back to the freezer for a while.
Once it has settled down, and you are sure that the berries you want to use for garnish will not sink, you sprinkle it with more chocolate powder (remember my second rule of dessert: the more chocolate, the better!), and arrange your berries to make it pretty. Back to the freezer it goes, for a couple of hours, at least. Meanwhile, you can watch The Ambassador of Jazz, the inimitable Louis Armstrong, sing his hilarious song Cheesecake.
You can unfreeze your cheesecake now! I mean, defrost. From now on, you can just keep it refrigerated, if you don’t finish it right away.
I think it looks like a real cheesecake. Most importantly, though, it tastes like it, too!
- 1 cup pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder and more to garnish
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup Blue agave
- Garnish with fresh berries
- Process dates with walnuts, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Scrape the sides, pulse until uniform paste.
- Press paste into 9 inch round pan, freeze for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Place the rest of ingredients into food processor. Scrape the sides, pulse until smooth and creamy consistency.
- Pour into “crust.” Cover, freeze for 1 hour. Remove, sprinkle cocoa powder on top, garnish with blueberries and raspberries, or any other colorful berries. Cover and freeze for 2 – 3 hours.
- Defrost for 20 – 30 minutes before cutting. Keep refrigerated for 2 – 3 days.