Raw Vegan Cheesecake

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Although you'll have to do a lot air quote gestures when trying to explain to your friends what raw vegan "cheesecake" is all about, I promise this recipe is well worth a try. Just like with the cauliflower pizza base experiment, I got a real kick out of making something raw, dairy and gluten free look and taste as good as real cheesecake. My family marvelled when I explained to them how I'd done it, and every last one one of them asked for seconds. Although the concept sounds complex this recipe is simple to prepare. The only things to be aware of are that it helps to have both a blender and a food processor on hand, plus you'll need time to soak your nuts and set the cake in the freezer, so it's best to get started up to 6 hours before you plan to serve it up.

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Raw Vegan Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups raw walnuts 7 pitted medjool dates 1/4 cup dessicated/shredded coconut

Filling:

2 cups raw cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours) juice of three lemons 1/3 cup honey or agave syrup zest of 1/2 lemon 3/4 cup coconut oil 2 tsp vanilla essence

Topping:

1 cup fresh or frozen berries 3 Medjool dates 1 tbs honey, maple syrup or agave syrup (whichever sweetener you prefer)

Instructions:

1. Soak the cashews in enough water to cover them for 3 hours.

2. For the crust, pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they're broken up into a fine crumb. Add the dates and blend until well incorporated. If you find the mixture too dry, add more dates or a little coconut oil.

3. Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the pan to stop the base from sticking. Then firmly press the crust mixture over the dish and up the sides to create a dense base.

4. Drain the cashews.

5. In a blender, whip up all the filling ingredients at a high speed until the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling over the base making sure it's spread out evening.

6. Going back to the food processor, add in all the ingredients for the topping and pulse until combined. Pour over top of the filling.

7. Freeze the finished dessert for at least 3 hours to set it. If you keep your "cheesecake" in the freezer longer than that, take it out about half and hour before serving to let it soften so the pieces cut easily.

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