I’ve been dying to try a cashew dessert for quite some time now. I can’t believe it’s actually taken me this long to get to enjoy something truly amazing. Don’t be fooled by the lack of flawless presentation – it was my first try! I’ll get my edges smoother next time, I promise. These vegan mini cheesecakes are incredible. This recipe is delicious, it’s sweet, it’s got all the goodness of a regular cheesecake, delivered in vegan, gluten-free, personal-sized perfection! Whoa, what a mouthful. Skipping the dairy, gluten, sugar, and eggs for this dessert, ends up covering most allergies at a dinner party – unless, you are allergic to nuts, then of course, this is most certainly not for you.
I’ve been apprehensive to believe that simply soaking raw cashewsin water and blending them into a cream, would really turn itself into the cheesecake consistency. To my utter surprise and delight, it delivered. Smooth, creamy, just-the-right texture that melts in your mouth with each bite.
I came across this recipe one day on pinterest, quite randomly in fact. I wasn’t searching for it and there it was. I was most certainly intrigued. I bookmarked it – yep, bookmarked, on my tool bar – I wanted to be reminded of it and I didn’t want to lose it in a sea of other pins. The day finally came for me to make it happen. I picked up most of the (easy to find) ingredients from the health food store; dates, raw cashews, almonds, canned coconut milk, pure maple syrup and fresh fruit from the market. I let the cashews soak for 4 hours in the afternoon, before working on the dessert in the evening. I anticipated that we would enjoy the finished treat the following day. This is a no-bake recipe, but it does require some freezer time (4 hours or so). Once the mini cheesecakes are set, then you can either indulge straight away, for a frozen treat, or let them thaw for ten minutes, for a creamier consistency. I preferred waiting – it tasted like the real deal at that point, in my opinion.
I get so excited over healthy foods that taste THIS GOOD. That simply combining these nuts and fruits together creates something so decadent and rich. I literally was MMmmmmming through each and every bite, much to the joy of my three year old, who was doing the same thing. Other taste testers included my husband and my Mom – who both were taken with the scrumptious flavour and complete satisfaction of this dessert. So, what does this mean? It’s the first of many cashew-based desserts to come, my friends! It also doesn’t hurt that cashews are a powerhouse in health benefits; hello gorgeous skin, cancer fighting properties, and bone health. Enjoy!
- 1 cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained)
- 1 cup raw walnuts or almonds
- 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained
- 1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat refrigerated canned coconut milk
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey, if not vegan)
- 1/4 cup fresh cherries, chopped and pitted
- 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
- Add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain and it forms into a ball.
- Remove and set aside.
- Next add nuts and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms.
- Lightly grease a standard, 12 slot muffin tin. I used waxed paper liners, which made the markings on the cheesecake, so next time - I may skip that and try the lengthwise tabs like the original recipe suggests.
- Next scoop in heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of crust and press with fingers.
- Set in freezer to firm up.
- Add all filling ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix until very smooth. For the coconut milk, scoop the cream from the top of the can.
- If adding peanut butter, add to the blender and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Top with chopped fresh fruit.
- Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard - about 4-6 hours.
- Once set, remove by lifting out the sides of the wax paper or loosening them with a butter knife. They should pop right out.
- You can set them out for 10 minutes before serving to soften or eat frozen.
- Keeps fresh for 1 week in the freezer. Refer to Minimalist Baker for more cheesecake options. Yum!