This is perfect for summer – no heavy creamy cheese in this, so in fact I would add ‘ ‘ to cheesecake, but this is the way to make a vegan version and it is deliciously light tasting. Cashew cream and coconut give a light and subtle taste that sits on a ground nut and dried fruit base with seasonal berries on top.
Our kitchen is a bit of a laboratory at the moment. Having experimented with all manner of gadgets, from sous vide cooking to ice cream makers and a dehydrator, we are now getting interested in creating really interesting raw food. It is not something we knew much about before we got sent a new piece of kit to work with. The Optimum 9400 blender by Australian company Froothie is a relative newcomer on the power blender scene in the UK.
Here are our first thoughts on the Froothie Blender.
At first glance this sturdy blender with its 2litre capacity is similar in appearance to the Vitamix, but in fact the engine is more powerful and slightly quieter (a big bonus!). For us though, the best thing is the blade – the Froothie blender has a 6 blade assembly, 4 facing up and 2 down. Why is this good? because when you are only blending small quantities, you get more a more efficient chopping of the ingredients than blenders with only upward facing blades (Vitamix included). The Froothie also allows you to blend dry as well as wet ingredients in the same jug which is space and cost-effective compared to some other power blenders. You can find more information as well as links to recipes and other Froothie products here.
This machine is powerful enough to make ice creams and sorbet from frozen fruit yes. It is going to make short work of smoothies, purees and soups. However when you start looking into it there is a whole culture of raw food that aside from being fresh and nutrient-rich, is creative, beautiful and delicious. So we decided to try out this Vegan ‘cheesecake’.
Working from the base up – the crust was made from ground walnuts blended with soaked dried apricots. We added some cacao nibs in for crunch. The filling is a combination of creamed cashew nuts and coconut. A touch of lemon juice adds the tang you might expect in a cheesecake and also cuts the richness of the cream.
On top, some fresh raspberries, along with some raw strawberry and chia seed jam. Chia seeds are rich in Omega Essential Fatty Acids. They swell on contact with water so make a great setting agent. They have use as an egg substitute for cakes but can also help to set fresh fruit spreads. We got the idea from a post by Katherine of Veggie Bakes. I rather like the idea of a raw jam – quick, less sugar and nutrtrients preserved. Not that we would be discarding our jam pot any time soon – preserving fruit does need the cooking and (some) sugar of traditional jam.
Some notes –
- You can sub the fruit and nut in the base – dates, prunes, almonds, hazelnuts. Whatever might complement the fillings and toppings
- To set the cheesecake you need to freeze it. So remember to take it out 10 minutes before serving so it can soften up a bit.
- In the filling, why not add some vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon or cocoa powder. To sweeten you can use Agave syrup or Maple (though bear in mind Maple is not raw). Or you can use honey if you are not vegan.
- Toppings – any fruit can be set in the same way by pureeing it with some chia seeds and a bit of water. Sweeten to taste. Or how about peanut butter and banana?
- We used a medium cake tin but you could also use mini cake tin mould or muffin tins. This recipe makes enough to serve 6 to 8.
- For the topping
- 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 to 8 raspberries
- For the base
- 120g (1 cup) walnut halves
- 140g dried apricots soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- For the filling
- 1.5 cups (210g) cashew nuts, soaked 4 to 6 hours in cold water
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 50g (1/3 cup) coconut oil
- 145ml (3/5 cup) full fat coconut milk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons agave syrup (or maple/honey)
- First make the jam - blend the fruit, chia seeds and water. Sweeten to taste and pour into a sterilised container. Leave to set overnight,
- Then make the base - grind the walnuts in a power blender then tip out and put in the dried apricots and grind to a puree. Add the ground nuts and cacao nibs. Take the base mixture out - it is a sticky paste, and press it into a springform cake tin (lined at the base with lightly oiled greaseproof (parchment) paper. Put in freezer to set whilst you prepare the filling.
- For the filling, drain and dry with a paper towel the cashew nuts. Puree them with the lemon juice, coconut oil, milk and agave. This will make a thick and creamy puree. Pour this into the cake tin over the base. Cover the cake tin tightly using cling film. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight till set.
- 40 to 60 minutes before serving, spread the jam over the top and dot with berries. Cover and return to freezer. Then remove from freezer 10-30 minutes before eating.
- Use a sharp knife to loosen the cake from the edge of the cake tin. OR you can use a kitchen blowtorch to briefly heat the edge. The cake will slip out easily and neatly with the latter method.
- Carefully lift onto serving plate using palette knife or cake slice.
Have you tried any raw food recipes? Do let us know in the comments.
Disclosure: we were provided with an Optimum blender from Froothie for review. The opinions expressed here are our own. The links to Froothie in this post are affiliate links.