After getting raw and exposed with my love life before and with Flo, what better way to wrap up the ‘raw’ series with a raw, vegan dessert I just tackled?!
Brownies that aren’t baked?! Cheesecake without cream cheese?! Cake without eggs?!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’ve never quite believed in desserts without eggs and butter but as more and more people shift towards having a healthier lifestyle, some have chosen to take the vegetarian route, some the vegan route, some the raw AND vegan route, and some the paleo route. Whatever the case, the world of desserts and baking has opened up to include all kinds of different lifestyle choices, and as such, the sweet life, too, has evolved.
I shared not long ago my venture into the world of healthier baking using alternative flours such as rye, spelt, coconut and cornmeal; dabbling with coconut sugar and maple syrup; substituting avocados for butter. I’ve enjoyed my little kitchen experiments where different ingredients can yield different textures and create different flavours in my bakes. Even more, it feels good to be consuming small indulgences knowing that they’re that extra bit better for my health!
So rather than strike off another kind of dessert just because it doesn’t involve traditional baking, I decided to have a go and see just how a raw, vegan cheesecake would turn out. Obviously, I had to first make it in order to try it, especially since vegan desserts are still quite a rarity here in Singapore. I know that there are some places that make them but what better than to challenge myself and try it first-hand?
Vanilla Raw Vegan Cheesecake (Makes 1 4.5″ round)
For the Base:
15g Desiccated Coconut
- Blend everything until mixture comes together and press into base of a 4.5″ round tin.
For the Filling:
120g Cashews, soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour, and drained
25g Coconut Cream
10g Lime Juice
40g Maple Syrup (I used Grade B)
30g Coconut Oil
- Blend everything together apart from the coconut oil.
- Drizzle in coconut oil and blend for no more than 15seconds.
- Pour mixture on top of prepared base and freeze for 3-4 hours to set.
- Allow to thaw in fridge for about 3 hours before serving.
How did it fare?
I can assure you that this was exquisite with its creamy filling that carried the flavours of the seasons – the zest of Spring from the lime juice; the waft of Summer from the tropical coconut; the comfort of vanilla that whispers Autumn; and the subtle sweet woodiness of maple that spoke of Winter. The base, had some crunch from the walnuts, some chewiness from the dates, and that created contrasting textures to the filling.
I can also say honestly that this was no cheesecake as we know cheesecake to be. It was creamy for sure, but not in that rich, luxuriant way that wraps around you in a hug. It didn’t have that buttery, addictive base (that I sometimes eat cheesecake specially for), nor the density of smooth velvety filling that we know to be comfort food.
I will say that this raw, vegan cheesecake did delight my palate on its own terms. Perhaps if named differently, non-vegans would have less expectations of it being like the traditional cheesecake, and more like a dessert that has a personality of its own. I would call this Cashew Cream D’lite or something cheesy like that. Can’t decide if that pun’s intended… =P
I think the key here is knowing that with alternative desserts and baked goods, they are unlikely to ever replicate the original to a tee. They are however, undoubtedly tasty if we put aside the fact that they will be different in texture and flavour which doesn’t necessarily mean unpleasant.
Also, I have to admit that it’s amazing how those who have chosen to follow an alternative diet have managed to become so creative in quelling their need for sweet! This raw, vegan cheesecake did do the job and once again, I’ll have to admit that while it deviates quite a lot from the baked cream cheese cheesecake cheesecake we all love, it left me feeling pretty good about what I fed my body. Again, a different good. Not a ‘so naughty it’s good‘ good. More a ‘I feel like an angel‘ good.