Friday, December 2, 2011

Raw Vegan Cranberry Apple Cheesecake

Our Thanksgiving dessert was delicious:
I started with a recipe I found online. That recipe didn't turn out the way I'd hoped, but I was able to rescue it by making some adjustments.

I made too many changes in the middle of creating this cheesecake to feel comfortable posting a recipe yet, since I would only be guessing what I added and in what amounts. 

I can tell you the basics:
Crust: Almonds and dates
Filling: Cheesecake with just a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves
Topping: Cinnamon, apples, cranberries, almond crumble 


Just writing about it makes me want to go eat one of the slices still in the freezer.

I don't have step-by-step photos of the dessert-making process, but I'll describe it, and post photos of the finished product. Warning: you may be hungry by the end of this post ; )

The week before, I dehydrated the (organic) cranberries: 
Aren't they beautiful? It was super easy, too. Just note: cranberry juice stains EVERYTHING it touches. Such as your cutting board, the dehydrator tray, a ceramic knife, your clothes if you are not wearing an apron... 

The cheesecake crust is simply almonds and dates processed in the food processor until crumbly. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the crust mixture for the topping, then press the remaining crust mixture into a 9" springform pan 
The filling is super simple. Most raw cheesecake recipes start with soaked cashews as a base. I followed the recipe I'd found online, but I was not happy with the taste or texture. A note here: a Vitamix really does make a huge difference. The original recipe suggested processing in a food processor, and I tried that. The mixture just does not get smooth enough. No matter how long I processed, it still had little pieces of cashew in it. Not good.

So, I put the mixture in the Vitamix, added a little filtered water, gave it a 20-second whirl, and it turned out perfectly smooth and creamy, as a cheesecake filling should be! Mmmm.
The taste was still not right, however. So I added some ingredients, added some more cashews, and played around with the flavor until it resembled a fall-spiced cheesecake. Yum!

Next step: pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan, tap to remove any air bubbles, cover, and put in the freezer to firm up.

While the cheesecake was chilling, I peeled and cored 3 Honeycrisp apples. I sliced the apples super-thin with the mandoline, and dehydrated about 2 hours. 

After 2 hours, the apples were warm and soft, not fully dehydrated (which would have made them crispy or chewy). I tossed with agave and cinnamon, and quickly realized we would need more apples to cover the top of the cheesecake (I think that's because I used a 9" pan, while the original recipe used a 6" pan). So, I repeated with 2 more Honeycrisp apples. Then tossed all of the semi-dehydrated apples with about 2/3 cup of the dried cranberries, agave, cinnamon, and the reserved crust mixture, and voila! Cranberry-apple topping. Yum. Just place mixture on top of the cheesecake. When ready to serve, remove the springform.
Can you believe that this is a healthy, living food? It is gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar free- but so sinfully rich, you would never know it.

(You know, I usually want pecan pie for Thanksgiving, but I just realized, I didn't even miss it!)

Here are some links to the health benefits of:

No comments:

Post a Comment