Thursday, 16 May 2013

Strawberry-Ginger Cashew Cheesecake - Kind of Raw, Definitely Vegan

"It's a gamble! It's a gamble, Mira!" cried my brother desperately on Saturday night, trying to convince me that his favorite Thai restaurant would be a better decision than the restaurant I wanted to try - a vegan and largely raw restaurant. I'm not saying that I don't love Thai food, but the gamble was definitely worth it.

I have to be honest, I was in love with the place the moment I walked in. Apart from the fact that it is attached to a yoga studio, it just seemed friendly and earthy and a little eclectic.... and there were little pots of sprouts on the table. Which I snacked on. Because I'm sure they were not just for decoration.. right?
Cute little tasty raw bruschetta... mmm!
Luckily, the food itself was also great. The appetizers shown here were a little on the small side, but cute and raw and tasty. The meals were delicious, though we did all order cooked dishes. The highlight of the meal, however, was definitely the dessert. I'm not just talking normal dessert being a highlight. This was extraordinary: we had a raw caramel apple cheesecake which was loved by my lactose-intolerant, sugar-opposed vegetarian father, my ravenous brother with the largest sweet tooth known to man, and my more traditional carnivorous east-coast grandfather who still believes that we have been brainwashed into vegetarianism. When I say loved, I mean adored. Like, trying to politely-yet-aggressively devour as much of the cheesecake as you can before everyone else does kind of adored.

So, I decided that there was only one thing to do: make my family a cashew cheesecake for Mother's Day. I am a far cry from a raw foodist, but I am fascinated and find it quite appealing. Likewise, I am by no means vegan but enjoy exploring vegan cuisine. Honestly, my biggest deterrent in exploring raw desserts has been the sheer cost of buying that many cashews. But this was seriously incredible for a special occasion.

Side note: Maple syrup? Not raw. The glaze? Not raw. As I said, I'm just exploring raw foods. Modify it if you want to keep it raw, or just make it as I did for a delicious vegan dessert.

  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans)
  • 3 tbsp flax seed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
The crust - good enough to eat on its own. By the handful.
  • 2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or raw honey or agave to keep it raw)
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 cup frozen chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
1. Soak cashews for 3-4 hours to overnight. I cheated, and used boiling water to speed up the soaking process. If you want to keep it raw, just start a little earlier.
2. Pulse crust ingredients in blender until they form a thick paste, with a larabar-like texture. The nuts should be mostly ground or in small pieces, and you should be able to form shapes with it.
3. Line a tin or baking dish with parchment paper/seran wrap/a clean plastic bag. Pat crust into the bottom of the tin to form a thin but solid layer, and place in freezer.
4. Drain cashews. Pulse cheesecake ingredients in food processor until creamy and smooth. Remove crust from freezer, pour filling into the dish, and return to the freezer.

Up to this point (minus the maple syrup and boiling water) the cheesecake is raw. The glaze, however, is definitely not raw. If you want to keep it raw, top with thawed strawberries. Otherwise...

5. Let strawberries thaw, at least partially. After cheesecake has hardened in freezer, add 1/2 cup water, grated ginger, and maple syrup to a small sauce pan, and heat to a boil.
6. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining water, reduce pan to a simmer, and add cornstarch mixture. Stir constantly, as this will thicken very suddenly.
7. Place 1/2 strawberries, thawed, on top of cheesecake.
8. Once glaze starts to thicken, add remaining strawberries. Mix until incorporated and thickened.
9. Pour glaze over cheesecake, and return to the freezer to harden for at least 10 minutes.
10. Remove from freezer, serve after a few minutes, and enjoy your cheesecake and the resultant praise. :)


  1. Let's see if this comment will stay! You made a very yummy cheesecake, and the opening of this blog post made me laugh :)

  2. Hmm, it is staying so far! I still can't reply to it though :S He WAS pretty funny about it :)

  3. Great story and, once again, another recipe for me to try! One question though - did the brother only order 1 dish or 3?

  4. One main dish.... he managed to weasel his way into three desserts though! :P We also got two mini carrot cakes haha

  5. I love going out on a limb and trying crazy new's always fun even if you don't LOVE the food. your almost-raw cheesecake looks so good!!

  6. From Cat:

    I made this for a BBQ potluck on the weekend and it was delicious! Because there was a 9-year old at the dinner table i added cocoa and a bit more maple syrup in the middle part. Chocolate and 9-years olds always go together, right? :) Anyway, it was a hit and now I am hooked on cashew cheesecake.


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