My latest effort was a mocha ‘cheese’ cake. The base was a tasty mix of dates and nuts, with coconut oil as the binding ingredient. The topping was soaked cashews, blended with honey, espresso and coconut oil. A few minutes in the blender on high speed and it was a creamy, rich filling.
Piece de resistance was the dark chocolate, melted then swirled through the top. After two hours in the freezer, it was firm enough to travel to Rotorua in a chilli-bin, in time for dessert. Aside from remembering to soak the cashews the previous day, it was pretty easy to make. My mum was visiting at the time, and cheerfully pressed the base into the quiche pan for me, while I made the topping.
The only controversial aspect was that two of the guests were not keen on coffee-flavoured desserts. So next time I’ll omit the coffee and add cocoa and extra vanilla. This dessert is very rich, so a small slice is usually enough for most people. We served it with coconut yoghurt for the dairy-free people, and whipped cream for everyone else.
Mocha Cashew Cheesecake Recipe
1 cup walnut pieces
½ cup almond meal
½ cup diced dates
½ cup dessicated coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of salt
2 cups raw cashew nuts, (soaked overnight in cold water or 1 hour in hot water)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup non-dairy milk (soy or almond work well)
2 shots of cold black coffee
2 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate
Find either a spring form tin or a flan dish with a removable base, spray it with oil and line it with baking paper.
Cover the diced dates with boiling water, soak for five minutes then drain off the water. Put the nuts, coconut, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and blitz till crumbly. Add the almond meal and the dates and process till combined. Tip this mixture into the pan and press it firmly into the base of the tin, using the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it carefully – either in the microwave in 5-10 second bursts, stirring in between, or over a pot of hot water. Set aside.
Drain the cashew nuts and rinse with fresh water. Put them into a high speed blender (or food processor), with the rest of the filling ingredients, but not the chocolate. Blend until very smooth and not gritty. (This could take 5 minutes in a food processor.) Pour it onto the base and spread evenly.
Pour the melted chocolate all over the filling and use a fork to swirl it through the top of the filling. Cover it with cling wrap and put into the freezer for at least 2 hours to set. Remove 10 minutes before you are ready to serve it.
Carol Garden is a writer who likes to explore healthy, interesting food ideas. She has worked as a caterer, vegan chef, journalist and public relations consultant.
To contact Carol email: firstname.lastname@example.org