The Best Vegan Cheesecake!
One of the highlights of my summer was hosting a plant-based workshop at Dry Creek Peach Farm in Healdsburg, CA. The group took a tour of the farm that produces Alice Waters' favorite peach, learned about the significant health benefits of eating plant-based, and enjoyed a four-course delicious vegan lunch. It was a treat for all! This is the dessert they enjoyed...one of my all-time favorites and something to consider adding to your holiday menus this season. It takes a little work and planning but if you're looking for something to wow even the pickiest of eaters - here's your answer!
There are many studies out there supporting the long term benefits of eating plant-based, vegan, or even mostly vegan. Ever heard of VB6 (vegan before 6 pm?), or "Vega?"...adding more plants to your diet is simply one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Don't beat yourself up about it, just go ahead and give it a try. What have you got to lose? Well, maybe a few pounds?
Fermented Cashew Cheesecake
(makes 12 individual)
1 ½ cup raw cashews, toasted at 350 degrees for 5-7 min
10 Medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup dried flaked or shredded coconut
2 Tbsp Acai powder
1 Tbsp lucuma powder
1 tsp Himalayan salt
Directions: Put cashews in a food processor and pulse until consistency becomes a mealy texture. Add remaining ingredients and mix until it sticks to the sides and starts to form a ball. Check to see if it holds by pressing some between your fingers. Prepare silicon cupcake molds by spreading a touch of coconut oil on the bottom. Fill cupcake molds with crust by patting down firmly with your fingers.
2 ½ cups fermented cashew cheese
1 cup nut milk (may need more)
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
¾ cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1) Make fermented cashew cheese. Start by soaking 4 cups cashews for 4-6 hours (or soak for 20 min in boiling water). Drain.
2) Put drained cashews in a blender with 2 tsp acidophilus. Blend until smooth. Wrap in cheesecloth or place in a bowl covered with a towel and dehydrate at 85 degrees for 24 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can also leave on the counter to ferment but will need to be in a warm spot and may require more time. You will know it's done when it smells a little tangy.
3) When cheese is ready, make filling by combining in a high-speed blender - 2 ½ cups cashew cheese with all remaining ingredients except coconut oil. Add more milk if it’s too thick. When smooth, add melted coconut oil.
4) Pour mixture over crusts and put in freezer for about 4 hours, or until solid.
5) When ready to serve, allow to sit at room temp for about 5-10 min and top with optional toppings – diced peaches, blueberry sauce, caramel sauce, coconut cream, etc.