Vegan raw blueberry and macadamia cheesecake

Serves 8 slices

If you are yet to enter the magical world of raw desserts, this macadarnia cheesecake is a sensational place to start. It's so very rich and surprisingly healthy. If you try one recipe in this book, this is the one. I have yet to meet anybody who can resist it! I like to use cashews in the filling purely because of the price difference -macadamias are expensive - but for a special occasion, go for it! Depending on the season, any berry can be used for this recipe. Blackberries are a personal favourite - I love their bitter edge with the sweet creaminess of the cheesecake - although blueberries are delicious too.

Ingredients

For the crust

300g raw macadamia nuts
A handful of pumpkin seeds
90g dates (soaked for 1 hour, then pitted)
20g freshly grated coconut (desiccated is fine)

For the filling
360g raw cashews or macadamias (soaked for at least 3 hours)
120ml lemon juice
120ml Brown rice syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
180ml coconut oil
A large pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml water

For the sauce
400g blueberries
45g dates (soaked for 1 hour), pitted

Method

To make the crust, put the macadamias, pumpkin seeds and dates into a food processor and pulse together until a rough crumble is formed. Add more dates if it's a little dry or more nuts if it's wet. The mixture should be able to be rolled into balls and not be overly sticky.

Scatter a layer of coconut on the base of a cake tin (one of those with a pushy-out bottom). You can use a normal pie/quiche dish -it just makes it harder to extract the cake. Try lining your tins with a snug layer of clingfilm. Using your hands, press the macadamia crust on to the coconut covering the base. Press the edges down with your fingers, forming an even layer.

To make the filling, blitz all the ingredients in the now magically clean food processor (bless those kitchen elves) until you have a smooth cream-like texture. You may need a few goes to get it all incorporated, scraping the sides down with a spatula. Scrape out your filling mixture into the pie dish, bang it gently a few times on a work surface (to get rid of air bubbles) and smooth the filling down using a spatula.

Place in the freezer and freeze -for best results; eat on the day of freezing, or soon after.Remove from the pie dish using a thin cake slice around the edge and gently pushing the base out. Take it easy and slowly. Pop it into the fridge and allow it to defrost -a couple of hours will do.

Place the blueberries and dates into your food processor (now miraculously clean again) and blitz well.Add a little water to thin the sauce out if needed. Pour over the cheesecake before serving, and if there is any excess sauce, serve it in a bowl as a berry bonus.

Recipe taken from Peace & Parsnips by Lee Watson, out now and published by Michael Joseph

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