Raw Cultured Cashew Cheesecake with Blackberry Preserves

My mom makes the best baked cheesecake, the kind that you allow yourself only one slice because it is so rich but you can’t help slivering away at it because it is so good! This recipe is my effort to recreate that cheesecake raw. I have used a mixture of cashews and macadamia nuts because the mac nuts give it that “baked” texture. You can use cashews exclusively, however; the resulting texture will be smoother and creamier but equally delicious.  Cultured with acidophilus, this cheesecake is an abundant source of probiotics. Just remember to get it started 3 days before you want to serve it! I made 4 mini cheesecakes in 3 inch ring moulds, and one in a 4 inch mini spring form pan. Alternatively you can make one larger cheesecake in a 6 inch spring form pan or 6 of the smaller ones.

Use whatever berries are in season for the topping. I used blackberries however; blueberries and raspberries are delicious as well. You can even use frozen fruit.

 

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Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of raw, organic cashews
  • 1 cup of raw, organic macadamia nuts
  • 3 capsules of acidophilus
  • 1/2 tsp. organic lemon zest
  • 4 Tbsp. of clear agave or raw honey
  • 2 tsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp. of vanilla powder
  • pinch of salt

Soak the cashews and macadamia nuts in a bowl of water overnight on your countertop.

Strain the nuts and combine with just enough water to blend (about 1/4 cup) until very smooth. Empty the contents of your acidophilus capsules into the mix and blend again briefly to incorporate. Be careful not to overheat the mixture in the blender as it might kill the probiotics. Line a medium sized bowl with a nut milk bag or a few layers of cheesecloth. If using cheesecloth, make sure that you have a large enough piece to wrap the mixture and to twist up the ends overtop.

 

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Gather up the ends of the nut milk bag or the cheesecloth, twisting it snuggly on top. Set into a plastic colander over your bowl and then place  a weight on top. I use a big river rock that I use for a pestle but a mason jar full of water works great! Cover with a clean tea towel and let sit on your counter top for 24-36 hours. The speed at which it ferments will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. You will be able to tell when it is ready because it begins to smell a little bit sour. I usually opt for 36 hours or a little more in my cool kitchen.

 

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When the mixture is ready, unwrap it and spoon it into a medium sized bowl. The texture will have changed once it has fermented. It will appear fluffier and aerated.

 

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Add the 1/2 tsp. of lemon zest, 4 tbsp. of desired sweetener, 2 tsp. of nutritional yeast, 3 tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. of vanilla, and the pinch of salt to the nut mixture. Stir well with a spoon. Feel free to adjust the flavour adding more sweetener or lemon if desired. Set aside while you make the crust.

The Crust:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (sprouted if you have a dehydrator) *
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 coconut oil, softened

(* to sprout almonds, soak overnight in water on your counter top. Drain and rinse. Dehydrate for 24 hours at 117 degrees F.)

Grind the almonds well in a food processor. With the motor running, add the coconut sugar and the coconut oil. Process until combined. Place your ring moulds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Distribute the crust evenly amongst the moulds and set in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes or so to set. As the coconut oil cools in the mix the crust will become very solid.

 

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Remove from the fridge and divide the filling evenly amongst the moulds. Press it down well with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to make sure that it fills the moulds completely. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The cashew cheese will set up nicely in the fridge, allowing you to slide the moulds off. At this point you can make the topping, saving it in the fridge to decorate the cheesecakes once they have set.

 

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After 1-24 hours, remove the cheesecakes in their moulds from the fridge. Gently ease an offset spatula or a paring knife around the inside edges of the moulds and then pressing up from the bottoms, slide them out of their ring moulds. You can tidy up the edges with a spatula or a knife.

 

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The Topping:

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups of fresh berries (1/2 cup to puree and 1 cup of whole berries to mix into the puree)
  • 1/8 cup of soft pitted dates (medjool)
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

Blend 1/2 cup of the fresh berries, and vanilla, in a blender or mini food processor with 1/4 cup of the fresh berries. The whole idea here is to create a thick jam that you will mix the remaining cup of fresh berries into to top the cake! Stir the remaining berries into the slurry. Decorate your cakes with the berry mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve!

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