There have been countless mishaps in my kitchen that have brought me swearing to my knees. The collapsed souffle for instance. The beautiful chocolate cake that ended upside down on my cousins driveway before we could taste it. A piece of shit oven with no temperature regulation & a broken handle that we can't get fixed because the oven company has been liquidated and the brand owners are in jail for fraud. Or the vegan lemon cake that was a mushy disappointment and tasted like a weeping cold sore. And those are just this week's disasters.
Although my control freak nature turns me into an irrational mad woman every time I fuck up, the challenges of the kitchen are my favourite kind. What are mistakes and challenges if not lessons. They improve us. After the debacle of the icky lemon cake I needed a success. And here it is. These raw vegan cheesecake bars. I am not vegan by any stretch of the imagination. Cream, butter, cheese, eggs and honey are just too important to give up. But embracing alternative plant based ingredients is something I am trying more of, it is kinder too. I have come to enjoy vegan baking. more that I thought I would. It is creative and often difficult - it challenges me.
The recipe took some tweaking; the first round was too sweet and the second was too grainy as my blender didn't live up to the task. You will need a high powered food processor or blender to get it really creamy. The third incarnation worked. Trusting the process and fixing the wrongs worked. It is not like a typical cheesecake - not as dense. I find I like them better frozen rather than just set. It makes them more like an really tasty ice cream bar and in our suffocating summer heat what could be better.
Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake
For the Crust;
- 1 Cup Walnuts
- 1 Cup Dates
- Large pinch of cinnamon
For the Cheesecake Filling;
- 1½ Cups Cashews (soaked in water overnight)
- 400ml can of coconut milk (just the cream off the top)
- 1/4 Cup Rice Malt Syrup
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 Cup Raspberries (thaw if using frozen)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- In a food processor combine all crust ingredients and pulse together until very crumbly. Line a 8x8 inch (20cm) square cake pan with baking paper. Pour the crust mixture into pan and using your hands press the mixture down. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- Strain the cashews and using a really good blender pulse the nuts into a smooth cream. Add the coconut, rice malt syrup and vanilla and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust base and place back in the fridge.
- In a large bowl blend together the raspberries and maple syrup until smooth. Place large blobs of the raspberry puree on top of the cheesecake and swirl using a skewer in a figure 8 pattern.
- Place in the freezer for several hours to firm up. Store in the fridge if you prefer a softer texture or keep in the freezer for a more ice cream like texture.
- Cut into bars and serve.