…or maybe the most delicious and healthy vegan recipe for an unforgettable white chocolate experience without sugar, gluten or baking. The truth is that raw vegan desserts are our favorites, especially when we are talking about cheesecakes with a creamy stuffing and a base of crunchy nuts and dried fruits. What I like the most is the unlimited variety of ingredients one can use in the creamy stuffing – nuts, fruits, nut-butters, zests etc – making each time a totally different dessert. The only thing we need is a relatively good blender!
This time, the basic concept of my recipe was to make a dessert with a rich white chocolate taste and the amazing aroma of vanilla. These two ingredients may have a prominent position in our olfactory and tasty memory, but on the other hand, we don’t meer them that often in the plant-based kitchen. However their combination is something I always considered magical and that’s why I planned to use it this time in order to make a white chocolate vanilla raw vegan cheesecake. You may ask yourselves how can we make a raw vegan dessert with the taste of white chocolate and the scent of vanilla? Simply by using raw cocoa butter and the small black seeds of a natural vanilla bean in its preparation! Relatively small amounts of these two are enough!
Indeed, the result was even better than what I could imagine! The cream is just mouthwatering with a sweet taste thanks to the agave syrup, a beautiful vanilla aroma, a silky, creamy texture and an intense chocolaty flavor thanks to the cocoa butter whick makes this cake unbeatable! Raw nuts , ground together with sweet dates make the crispy, sweet, dense base that holds the cake and adds taste and texture to the recipe.
for the base
- 1 cup dates (medjool or other varieties, without sugar or glucose)
- 1 cup walnuts or almonds, shelled
for the white chocolate cream
- 2 cups cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours and drained
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 100 g (about 1/2 cup) cocoa butter melted
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds or 1 tbsp homemade vanilla extract
for the decor
- mixed nuts and seeds
- mixed dried fruit
1. For the crust: Wash the dates, drain and pit them and put them in the food processor along with the nuts. Process for a few minutes until a soft dough is formed. If you do not like the small pieces of nuts in the base, process the nuts until they become powdered and add the dates afterwards.
2. For the white chocolate cream: Put in the blender half of the cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, water, vanilla and the melted cocoa butter and blend for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the rest of the cashews and blend for few more minutes until they are incorporated in the mixture and the texture of the cream is smooth and homogeneous.
3. Assembly: Line a cheesecake pan of 20-22 cm diameter with greaseproof paper and spread the crust mixture over the bottom. Press with your hands to distribute equally and form the crust. Pour the white chocolate cream on top of the crust and refrigerate for 8-12 hours to set.
4. Before serving garnish with chopped nuts, seeds and dried berries. Keep in the fridge.
Raw vegan cheesecakes are my passion, as they sweeten, nourish and satisfy our sweet tooth naturally without having to consume large quantities. A raw and vegan cheesecake can be a delicious, yet nutritious treat or an afternoon dessert (sometimes it serves as breakfast for me too!). Especially this raw vegan chocolate cheesecake combines the classic cashew cream “cheese” with the rich chocolate taste, things that make it very popular to both kids and adults. For this reason, I often prepare it when we invite friends for a meal in our house.
A good blender and the mood for un-baking is all you are going to need in order to prepare this healthy, sugar free and gluten free vegan dessert!
(for 20-22 cm diameter pan)
For the crust
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw walnuts
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
For the chocolate cream
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup agave nectar or other raw liquid sweetener
- ½ cup coconut oil or cocoa butter, melted
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp sea salt
For the chocolate sauce
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- For the crust: Wash the raisins, drain them and put them in the food processor along with the nuts and the cocoa powder. Process for a few minutes until a soft dough is formed. If you do not like the small pieces of nuts in the base, process the nuts until they become powdered and add the raisins afterwards.
- For the chocolate cream: Put in blender half of the cashews, the lemon juice, the agave nectar, the cocoa powder and the coconut oil and blend for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the rest of the cashews and blend for few more minutes until they are incorporated in the mixture and the texture of the cream is smooth and homogeneous.
- For the chocolate sauce: With a hand mixer or a fork mix well all the ingredients until a uniform chocolate syrup is formed.
- Assembly: Line a cheesecake pan of 20-22 cm diameter with greaseproof paper and spread the crust mixture over its bottom. Press with your hands to distribute equally over the bottom of your pan. Pour the chocolate cream on top of the crust, flatten the surface lightly with the back of a spoon or a spatula and pour over the chocolate sauce. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours to set before serving.
The appetizers -or “mezedes” as they are called here- are a characteristic and basic element of the Greek table. I can’t imagine of a Greek person who would say “no” to a meal with friends, composed of many -hot or cold- small appetizers accompanied with ouzo or raki, instead of a main course.
However, eating a variety of appetizers as a meal, apart from being a Greek custom, is more or less a common way of spending time with friends as well as eating out, in other Mediterranean countries too. For example the Spanish “tapas” are correspondingly small appetizers and in Spain people often order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. I guess there must be a reason for that. Maybe it’s that the appetizers we share with our fellow diners may bring us a little closer: firstly we learn how to share our food, we approach each other to take a few bites from each saucer, we experience the same tastes and we eat, drink, talk and relax together with our friends or our family.
One of the most famous delicacies of northern Greece is tyrokafteri (spicy and creamy white cheese spread). As my partner is a huge fan of anything “cheesy”, we often make the raw vegan version of the original recipe. The basic ingredients that we use are various soaked raw nuts blended with olive oil, salt and fresh spicy and sweet peppers for a delicious raw vegan snack.
- 1 ½ cups raw mixed nuts, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained (I usually use: ½ cup cashew nuts, ½ cup blanched almonds and ½ cup Brazil nuts)
- 1 fresh red hot chilli pepper
- 1 red sweet pepper
- 1 garlic clove (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp water (only if necessary for blending)
- Wash the chilli and the sweet pepper and half them lengthways. Remove the seeds and the stalks and discard them. Chop them coarsely.
- In a blender put all the ingredients and blend at medium speed for several minutes until a relatively smooth and creamy mixture is formed.
- Keep in a glass container in the refrigerator for several days.
Note: This vegan spicy cheese dip can be also made with soaked blanched almonds only, in case no other nuts are available.
If your skin is sensitive you’d better prepare the chilli wearing rubber gloves, as chillies contain a substance that burns sensitive skin. Of course, never rub your eyes or lips after handling chillies and wash the knife, board and your hands with hot soapy water.