Happy Holidays! This year for Christmas, my mom put in a special request for me to bring a dessert over to the house. I asked her if she had anything special in mind, and she said she was hoping for one of my cheesecakes (she knows they are raw vegan and tries to avoid dairy and refined sugars). I asked if there was any particular flavor she wanted, and she said raspberry. My family members all seem to be crazy about raspberries. It must be genetic. 😉
This was my first real dessert project since finishing my raw cuisine courses with Matthew Kenney Culinary, so I thought it would be a fun way to put my skills to work. I was feeling pretty confident with my recently acquired knowledge about flavor balancing, food styling, and creating textures with good and authentic mouthfeel, so I set to work! I was able to put this recipe together surprisingly quick, and very please with the sampling of the different components along the way.
This raw vegan cheesecake is comprised of three parts: a crust, a cheesecake base recipe, and a raspberry sauce that I swirled in. The crust is a blend of dried fruit, nuts, coconut, and a pinch of cinnamon. It was dough-y and stuck together just like a good crust should. The main batter is cashew based and has a perfectly creamy texture with just the right balance of sweet and tangy, and a hit of vanilla. It really tasted like an actual cheesecake batter. The raspberry sauce was sweet and fruity. I added a pinch of cinnamon to that too, to tie it all together. The raspberry sauce was then swirled into the batter. Oh, it was so divine!
Dried date and pecan crust pressed into the bottom of the spring form pan.
This went over really well with my omnivorous relatives and received really good reviews. I was informed that my parents were keeping the remaining half of the cheesecake after dessert. I hope you enjoy this as much as they did. 🙂
Cinnamon Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake - Raw Vegan
A smooth and creamy raw vegan cheesecake with a cinnamon nut crust and an infusion of sweet and tangy raspberry sauce.
Combine crust ingredients in either a blender or food small processor until well combined and the consistency of a sticky dough.
Spread crust mixture in the bottom of a 6" springform pan and pat down evenly and firmly. You can get it very flat and even with the smooth bottom of a drinking glass.
Blend all base cheesecake ingredients until perfectly smooth and creamy. It should look like a cake batter. You may need to use a tamper if your blender has one.
Pour the batter into the springform pan.
Blend the raspberry sauce ingredients together until smooth. You can either mix the sauce into the cheesecake batter or reserve it to spoon on top of the plain cheesecake after it has set.
Put the cheesecake into the freezer to firm overnight. Remove it 1-2 hours before you'd like to serve it so it can thaw a bit.
Plate with extra raspberries and a light dusting of cinnamon.
It is very important to soak the cashews for 4-6 hours before using them. This reduces the phytic acid content to make them more digestible and contributes to the smooth and creamy texture of the finished cheesecake. I can't promise that the texture will be the same if you do not soak the nuts!
By Adrienne Engell
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/
To finish off the 10th day of my raw food classes, we were tasked with a challenge to come up with an original recipe based on a set of given criteria (I won’t spoil the fun for anyone who wants to take the class – no cheating!). Ultimately, my strange thought process led me to create a Bloody Mary Gazpacho.
I was really pleased with myself when I tasted the final result. The soup base does indeed taste like a fresh Bloody Mary base, and all without the need for any animal products (goodbye Worcestershire sauce!) or heat treated juices that are devoid of nutrition. This particular dish is loaded with vitamin C and vitality!
Part of the assignment was to get fancy with the presentation, so I had a lot of fun with the plating, but if that’s not your thing, feel free to just dump your vegetables right on top.
Bloody Mary Gazpacho
A savory twist on the traditional gazpacho, this dish is infused with rich Bloody Mary flavors that combine smokey, sweet, and slightly spicy. Your friends will swear they're eating cooked food!
cucumber, small dice - 1/2 cup (appx 1/2 large cucumber)
yellow bell pepper, small dice - 1/2 cup
tomato, chopped roughly to small dice - 1/2 cup
green olives, rough chopped - 1/4 cup (I used Castelvetrano olives - my new favorite!)
shallot, minced - 2 TB
fresh parsley, finely chopped - 1 TB
carrots - 1/2 carrot - cut paper thin on mandolin
Bloody Mary Gazpacho Soup Base Ingredients
red sweet pepper, chopped (appx 2-3 small peppers) - 1/4 cup
pearl and/or plum tomatoes, chopped - 1 cup
sun dried tomato, chopped - 1/4 cup + 2 TB
celery juice - 1/2 cup (juice of 4-5 stalks)
lime juice - 2 TB (juice of 1-2 limes)
wasabi powder (all natural - make sure there are no additives!) - 1/2 tsp
Put sun dried tomatoes (for soup base) in warm water to soak for 10-15 min while you prepare the chopped vegetables and marinade.
Juice the celery and the limes.
Chop the vegetables and add all of them except the carrots to a medium sized mixing bowl.
Add the marinade ingredients to the chopped vegetables and mix until well coated. Let it sit while you make the sauce.
Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender on high speed until smooth and well combined. If you want to thin it out a bit, you can add a little bit of filtered water, 1 TB at a time.
Divide the chopped vegetables into two portions - one for each plate.
For each plate: If you want to get fancy, line a ring mold with the sliced carrots. It helps to have them in a bowl of water so they stick together better. Then, fill the ring mold with half of the chopped vegetables and pack it down. Juices will leak out and this is ok. Pour appx half of the soup mix into the bowl BEFORE removing the ring mold. Let the juices mingle and swirl them with a spoon for an even consistency. Then, carefully, remove the ring mold, and garnish with some fresh herbs.
If you want a more rustic dish that looks like a traditional gazpacho, then add the soup base to the bowl first, forget the ring mold, and add the vegetables right on top. Use the shaved carrots as a garnish around the edges of the soup.
If you REALLY want to, you can thin out the soup base to make it a more drinkable texture and it does make an excellent vegan Bloody Mary base.
If you add some flax seed to the water that the carrots are in, they will adhere together even better.
The ume vinegar really does provide a depth of flavor, even though there is a small amount. If you can't find it, you can try substituting with ACV and then adding an extra 1/2 tsp of dulse flakes to increase the "fishy" factor.
You can probably use coconut aminos in place of the tamari if you prefer.
The smoked spices REALLY make the flavor pop on this. Please don't omit them. I used an applewood smoked sea salt from a local spice company, but you can use any that you like which has a strong wood-smoked infusion of taste and fragrance.
By Adrienne Engell
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/