no-bake

Soy-Free Vegan Raw Cheesecake

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raw cheesecake

No-fuss elegant delectable desserts are my favorite to make – no-bake desserts specifically. It’s not just because I am lazy or pressed for time (even though I frequently finding myself in these circumstances; I blame the heat). I may have used this proverbial quote before but I will reiterate it again: If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.  In my case, I can’t stand the heat but won’t let it chase me out of the kitchen. With this soy-free vegan raw cheesecake that I recently made, I remained in my kitchen without the heat.

I’ve had my fair share of raw desserts before and even made some myself. Raw cheesecake was a novelty to me, especially a soy-free version. Many people I know are not particularly fans of soy oriented dishes and desserts so I wanted to share a dessert idea that both vegans and non-vegans can compromise on and mutually enjoy. Unless you have a nut allergy, you will appreciate this raw cheesecake recipe regardless of your dietary orientation. I,  for one,  love nuts. That is why I was devastated upon recently discovering my allergies for chestnuts and pine nuts. I pray hope that more onset nut allergies won’t follow. Thankfully, I can still eat cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts – ingredients I used in this no-bake raw cheesecake recipe.

When I served this raw cheesecake to guests, they had a hard time believing that I used nuts instead of Tofutti cream cheese. I like using cashews and macadamia nuts in my desserts primarily because they are versatile, creamy, and lovely tasting. I very seldom use macadamia nuts because they are very expensive so I alternatively used almonds instead which gave this raw cheesecake a ricotta cheesecake texture. With this raw cheesecake, it’s almost like biting into a slice of a New York style cheesecake minus the high fat content from the cream cheese and sour cream. Even a small slice is extremely satisfying and will give you a comfortable feeling of fullness without weighing your stomach down. You can enjoy a dessert that is equally exquisite, rich and gourmet without tacking on the extra calories. If you enjoyed my nut cream recipe, you will rave over this raw cheesecake recipe.  Hassle-free and easy to make, this soy-free, no-bake vegan raw cheesecake is perfect for beginners consisting of only 6 ingredients excluding the pie crust! This recipe is practically fool-proof. In fact, I will be very impressed if you manage to screw this recipe up.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. Prepared pie crust
  2. 2 1/2 – 3 cups of cashews, macadamia, or blanched almonds
  3. 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 cup of pure mayple syrup, agave nectar or honey
  5. 1/2 cup of coconut butter melted
  6. Juice and zest  from 1 lemon
  7. 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  8. 1/4 cup of water plus more for soaking nuts

Instructions

Cover nuts in a bowl and let it soak for 8-12 hours or overnight. Drain. Combine all the ingredients for the cheese filling a food processor or blender and process for 6 minutes or until completely smooth. Pour contents into prepared pie crust then cover and freeze till ready to use. Remove cheescake from freezer 5 minutes before serving. Store in freezer up till 2 weeks.

Yields 8 servings

 

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No-Bake Brownie Mint Strips

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mint strips

I apologize for the cracks on the ganache. I wanted to feature a much better caption but that photo never fully developed for some mysterious reason. This is the next best thing that is remotely pleasing to the eyes. Among many desserts, I was first introduced to mint strips when I met my in-laws for the first time. Until then, mint oriented desserts and treats never interested me. I don’t particularly care for peppermint patties for that matter. They tasted like oversized breath mint to me. I passed on the mint custard pie when I was offered a slice but mint strips seemed more intriguing to me. I suppose their  layout and presentation attracted me to them the most. After one bite, I had a change of heart for mint flavored desserts. I tried emulating my mother in-laws recipe several times but the results doesn’t measure anywhere close to her capacity of making these delightful treats. For those of you who are new to mint strips, they consist of three components: a brownie base, cream mint filling, and a chocolate ganache topping. I decided to revise her recipe with a sugar-free vegan no-bake adaptation. I used avocado in lieu of margarine for the mint filling. I had the idea using carob powder instead of cocoa powder but hubby wouldn’t hear of it. I used pre-soaked pureed dates to retain the brownie layer’s fudgy texture, a compromise he was willing to make only this once.  I asked him to choose between black beans and dates. Although hubby claimed that he slightly detected the dates in the brownies, I couldn’t taste the difference. I suppose I need to do a better job camouflaging the date flavors. He chose dates merely out of concern for my welfare. Although he much prefers the baked version, he permits me to use my own interpretation of the mint filling from hereon out.  Since this recipe comprises of three steps and requires time to chill between each step, I suggest you make these mint strips ahead of time.

For the brownie mixture, you will need:

  1. 1 cup of spelt or all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup of unsweetened sifted cocoa powder
  3. 1 teaspoon of salt
  4. 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
  5. 1/3 cup of milk of your choice
  6. 1 cup of dates soaked and pureed (you can use nut butter if you don’t like dates. If you are brave, use prunes)
  7. 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  8. 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil

For the mint filling, you will need:

  1. 1 ripe avocado peel and pit removed
  2. 1/3 cup of creme de mint or peppermint schnapps
  3. 1 cup of powdered sugar or a sugar-free equivalent
  4. Green food coloring (optional)

For the chocolate topping, you will need”

  1. 16 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips
  2. 2 tablespoons of margarine or coconut butter

Instructions for brownie base

Place chocolate chips in a deep shallow large bowl. Heat milk till the sides start to slightly bubble. Pour milk over chocolate chips. Let them rest for a few minutes before whisking them. Set aside. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process till smooth. Fold them in with melted chocolate mixture. Transfer to an 8 inch square pan and spread evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.

Mint filling

Puree avocado, creme de mint, and powdered sugar in a food processor until smooth. Add a bit of water if too thick or more powdered sugar if too runny. Pour mint filling over brownie and chill for another 30 minutes or so until set.

Chocolate topping

Melt chocolate with margarine over a double boiler. Pour and spread evenly over mint filling. Allow the chocolate to harden and chill before cutting them up into 2 inch squares.

Yields 16 brownies