Very Merry Blueberry Cheesecake

(You can blame my brother Carlos for the name of this one)  I dream of opening a vegan café one day. I obviously need to master some vegan dessert recipes so that people can enjoy them with their coffee or tea. Cakes seem to be the biggest challenge because of all the dairy and eggs that are usually needed to make them. Once I transitioned to veganism, one of the first things I attempted to make was vegan cheesecake. After some trial and error, I came up with this very simple recipe that any beginner in the kitchen should be able to master.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of soft dates, pitted. (If the dates are not soft, after you take the pits out, put them in a small bowl with hot water for about 10 minutes. Then drain).
  • 1 cup of almonds.
  • 2 cups of coconut flakes.
  • 500 grams of cashews, soaked overnight.
  • 1 ½ cups of blueberries.
  • ½ cup agave
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt
  • Coconut sugar
  • Optional: agar-agar (powder or gel).
  • Materials: a cooking dish/pan (I use a 20x30cm – 8×12 inch – pan), parchment paper or foil.

Procedure

  1. Crust:
    • In a food processor, process the almonds and the coconut (separately) until achieving a flour/dust like texture. Mix in a bowl adding a pinch of salt.
    • In the food processor now process the dates until making a soft paste (you may add a small splash of water for thinning, just so that the food processor can continue working).
    • Once the date paste is soft, add in the coconut and almonds and mix.
    • You will get dough that is moist, but it should not stick to your fingers. Line a pan or baking dish. I like using foil to rap around the edges and then use as handles when removing it from the pan for cutting. Put the mix on the pan, evenly distributing it (press it down with your wet hands). Then, cover with some parchment paper. (Tip: I like to use a small cutting board – smaller than the pan – to press down the mix even more, and make it very even).
    • Store in the fridge while making the cheesecake paste.

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  1. Cheesecake paste:
    • In a food processor or high speed blender add the soaked cashews, lemon juice from a full lemon, the coconut milk, vanilla extract, agave, and 1 cup of blueberries. Process until making a soft paste and set aside.
    • Optional/Tip: My first vegan cheesecake recipes had a lot of coconut oil in them. The reason behind was that it will solidify once in the fridge (helping the cheesecake paste to remain firm). Well, I’ve been trying to avoid using any type of oil as much as possible. Instead, I’ve been using agar-agar (which is made from a sea weed). I use a gel format of agar-agar that it needs to be hydrated, drained, and then cooked with the cheesecake paste. If you want to use agar-agar, make sure to follow the instructions for preparation and add them to this cheesecake paste.
    • Add the mix to the pan with the crust and distribute evenly

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    • Add the remaining ½ cup of blueberries, and store in the fridge.

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  1. Raspberry sauce:
    • Use a hand or food processor to make a paste with the raspberries, coconut sugar, and juice from 1 lemon. Add water as needed.
    • Place in a hot pan and stir until reducing to half of its size.
    • Spread over the cheesecake paste and store in the fridge.

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  1. Plating: After at least 6 hours of having the completed cheesecake pan in the fridge, take out of the pan. You can also keep it in the freezer. Cut into squares (I usually get about 32 squares). Final tip, if you can wait 2-3 days until cutting, the cheesecake will have achieved the best consistency. Can you wait?

Enjoy!

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