I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cheeseless Cheesecake


I don't usually make raw foods, mostly because I find no need to, and because life is more interesting with a little heat added, whether it derives from my oven or from me ;]

As finals drained the UC Berkeley population one by one, there seemed to be little hope of seeing any friends in a normal state of mind unless we had one final group hangout before we died. Hence, we decided upon a potluck the weekend before Dead Week began.


As usual, I offered to contribute dessert. My original plan was to make a cheesecake, which is my favourite dessert, nay, food, in the world (This is also a hint to anyone interested in winning me over: cheesecake. Thanks). But I was running short on money, and cream cheese isn't exactly the cheapest ingredient out there, so I decided for a simpler version that required no baking. There was also a twist to the batter: coconut butter.


If you have not heard of coconut butter, never fear, because I hadn't either until I saw this recipe. The only coconut substance I knew of besides the actual fruit was coconut oil, which rather than any culinary purpose, served to moisturize my hair when I go to India. So what the hell is coconut butter?

It is basically pressed coconut meat from which oil is extracted to form a solidified fat that is very stable and imparts a subtle flavour to foods. I found it easily in the nut butter section at Berkeley Bowl [this store never fails me, seriously], and with a bag full of Pink Lady apples and cashews, set to work.


Some adjustments I made to make this recipe more friendly: Top with fresh apples instead of dehydrating them, because let's face it, who really has a dehydrator lying around at home. I also used maple syrup to bind the crust together, and I used a combination coconut butter that was blended with other nuts for more flavour. This also means that my cheesecake does not turn out white but a speckled grey. It still looks good though, and nobody complained!

Ideas for next time: Different nuts [Almonds? Pecans?]; pure coconut butter


Apple Cashew “Cheesecake”

Crust:

  • 1 C Almonds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Topping:

  • 3 Apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 C Agave
  • 1/2 t. Cinnamon
  • 2 T Coconut Butter
  • 1/3 C Crust

Filling:

  • 2 C Cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 t. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 C Coconut Butter (softened in dehydrator)
  • 1/4 C Agave
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/4 t nutmeg

Read Through This Recipe Before Beginning

2 hours before: Combine apples, agave and cinnamon. Cover and let the apples macerate.

Make crust: Place almonds in food processor. Process until finely ground. Add maple syrup, processing until well mixed. Press mixture into an 8" spring form pan. You may have extra crust. Place in refrigerator.

Make Filling: Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth. This will take a bit. Pat over crust and return to refrigerator.

Finish Topping: Combine apples, coconut butter and any remaining crust you might have. Press over top of cheesecake. Return to refrigerator and chill for 2 hours before serving. Slice with sharp knife. Serves 8.

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