I had no idea what to expect when I made this Raw Strawberry Cheesecake adapted from Ani Phyo's recipe book Ani's Raw Food Desserts on page 57 “Strawberry Kream Cheezecake”. What a simple and beautiful dessert to make that you and any of your guests will just love. My guests couldn't believe that it was completely raw and that there was no cream cheese in this raw dessert.
Initially, when I was thinking about making the cheesecake, I thought it looked like the traditional New York Style Cheesecake. It does look like it as far as color, crust and strawberries; however it tastes more like a key lime cheesecake because it has 1/2 cup of lemon juice. I absolutely loved it! Would be interesting to exclude the lemon juice and see what it tastes like. Let me know if anybody experiments with this.
I used 4 individual tart dishes like this one to make the Raw Strawberry Cheesecake even more tantalizing!
The recipe uses lecithin powder as a thickner; however Ani Phyo explains that you can exclude it and increase the coconut oil to 1/4 cup and decrease the water to 1/3 cup. I did make this adjustment and and excluded the lecithin powder. I'm not sure what the cheesecake would look like or taste had I used it, but I imagine it might be relatively close in taste. I certainly didn't miss it and considering it's not something I have readily available, making the adjustment of coconut oil and water was perfect and easy.
Let's get down to making this guilt free dessert!
Raw Strawberry Cheesecake
- 1 cup almond meal (I put dry raw almonds into a food processor to get a fine chop)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup pitted Medjool or other semi-soft dates
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1.5 cups cashews
- 3/4 cup filtered water (unless your not using lecithin powder, then decrease to 1/3 cup)
- 3 tablespoons liquid coconut oil (unless your not using lecithin powder, then increase to 1/4 cup)
- Seeds from 2 vanilla beans or 2 tablespoons alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup lecithin powder (exclude if making above adjustments to water and coconut oil)
- 1.5 cups strawberries
To make the crust, combine the almond meal and salt in a mixing bowl and then sprinkle some of the almond meal on the bottom of a regular pie pan or you can use the 4 tart dishes. Add the dates to the remaining almond meal and mix into a dough with your hands. It's best to make sure your dates are room temperature when mixing. Next, press the dough into the pie pan(s) as thinly as possible around the bottom and sides. The crust will reach 1/2 way up the sides of a regular pie pan, but should reach the top of the tart dishes.
Make the filling by coming the zest, lemon juice, cashews, water, coconut oil, and vanilla in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add the lecithin powder and blend to mix well and thickened. Drop into the pie pan(s) on top of the crust.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the filing to become firm.
When ready to serve, slice the strawberries thinly and pile on to the filling in any creative method you choose.
Without the strawberries on top, the cheesecake will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and several weeks in the freezer.
My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures again. I'm telling you – you're gonna love this raw dessert. Yum!
Thank you Ani Phyo for your wonderful creations! If you're interested in other recipes like this, check out the recipe uncook book from Ani Phyo. Other desserts in her book include Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes, Bon Bons, Key Lime Cream Bars, Cranberry Scones, Pecan Pie Cookies, and Tiramisu.
Let me know if you liked this dessert and if you experimented with it.
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