Friday, June 7, 2013

Raw Mini Chocolate Mango Cheesecakes

I've been obsessed with raw cashew-based cheesecakes for some time now.  There are so many recipe variations floating around in cookbooks and on the Internet, I think my head will explode from wanting to try them all!  I'm drawn to the all natural ingredients, the no bake factor, and of course the phenomenal texture and flavor.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to toppings:  fresh fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce, raw vegan caramel, etc.  So I decided to make a basic raw cheesecake using my handy dandy mini cheesecake pan and created different toppings for each piece.  For this post, I went with chocolate + mango + macadamia nuts.  Yes, yes, and yes. 

Makes a dozen mini cheesecakes or one 8-inch round cheesecake

1 cup raw macadamia nuts
1 cup raw pecans
1 cup pitted dates 
  1. Blend the nuts and dates in a food processor until a sticky mixture forms.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly among the bottoms of the mini cheesecake pan and press down well to form a crust. Set aside.
Cheesecake Filling
3 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least an hour or ideally overnight)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup coconut oil, melted (I placed the jar in a bowl of warm water to do this)
1/2 cup water 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1. Blend all the filling ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the filling mixture evenly over each crust. Use the back of a spoon to flatten out the tops.
  3. Cover with foil and freeze overnight.
Chocolate Sauce (make this right before you're ready to serve the cheesecakes)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
Sliced mango (or other fresh fruit)
Chopped macadamia nuts (or other nuts) for sprinkling
  1. Transfer the cheesecakes to the refrigerator to thaw for about an hour before serving.
  2. Once thawed, spoon some chocolate sauce over each cheesecake.
  3. Top with sliced mango and sprinkle with macadamia nuts.
Some notes:
  1. For the crust, you can use any nuts that you have on hand, except maybe cashews since that would be cashew overload.  Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts would all work well. 
  2. You can also substitute agave nectar for the maple syrup. 
  3. If you don't have a mini cheesecake pan, you can use a regular muffin pan with paper liners or use silicone muffin cups.  And if making mini cheesecakes seems too cumbersome, you can just make one large cheesecake using an 8-inch spring-form pan. 
With the time spent pre-soaking the cashews and then waiting for the cheesecake to set in the freezer, you can see that this recipe isn't about immediate gratification.  Although, you can always set aside some of the filling and eat it like pudding.  :)  And looking over the ingredients, this probably isn't something you'd make everyday unless you have wads of cash to spend on raw organic cashews, maple syrup, and coconut oil.  But it's definitely a delicious and wholesome treat to enjoy when you're craving something decadent (that doesn't include two sticks of Philadelphia cream cheese).

Enjoy! :)