Hello everyone! This is Rita here. Sometimes I fear we'll be too overwhelmed and incapable of sorting through the dozens of recipe ideas we constantly shoot each other with. Between the projects we work on, university, gym, leisure and some much needed rest, we still manage to find the time and inspiration to work on a weekly recipe for the blog. Some are more creative than others, some more impressive than others. But this one, I might say, is our definite favourite so far.
I must say, we weren't thinking about posting another vegan "cheesecake" recipe so soon. But Easter is just around the corner and we did promise you heaps of them when we posted our Lemon & Raspberry "Cheesecake", so we figured the time was right. A few weeks ago we took on the challenge of creating a healthy vegan "cheesecake" recipe inspired by all sorts of sinful Easter treats and this delicious, gorgeous and IMMENSELY addicting dessert was born. Like we always do, we tested this recipe a couple of times before even photographing it and I had imagined we would still have a bit more of this deliciousness hanging in the freezer by now, but a-hem. It's nearly all gone. Dozens of slices of sweet, decadent perfection (perhaps a fourth round is in order?).
Traditional portuguese sweets around this time of the year are all about this sort of flavours: the warmness of cinnamon, the sweetness of caramel and the toasty flavour of roasted almonds (and chocolate actually, but we're saving that one for some other goodies!). But these desserts could not be further from being healthy (or plant-based, for that matter) and we've had more than enough of that! You can put the dairy and the eggs and the rock hard artificially coloured sugar aside, because this baby right here has everything you could wish for. The almond cinnamon cashew cream tastes like cookies and the salted medjoul date caramel is, well... Salted. Date. Caramel. We threw in some sliced almonds in between layers for some extra crunch and voilá! Best dessert ever. It may involve some soaking and freezing but believe me, this is actually really easy to make and it is worth all the time in the world.
Roasted Almond & Salted Caramel Easter "Cheesecake"
+4 hours soaking + 1 hour prepping + 8 hours freezing | serves 16
10 medjoul dates, pits removed
2 cups | 300 gr. blanched almonds
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
15 medjoul dates, pits removed
2 tbsp roasted almond butter
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/3 cup | 35 gr. almond slices (for layering)
ALMOND CINNAMON CASHEW CREAM
3 cups | 400 gr. raw cashews, soaked overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours)
1 cup | 250 ml. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup | 125 ml. melted coconut oil
3/4 cup | 180 ml. rice malt syrup
1/4 cup | 70 gr. roasted almond butter
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp cinnamon
STEP BY STEP
Start by gathering, preparing and measuring all of the ingredients. This will improve your dynamic in the kitchen.
- Preheat your oven to 300ºF | 150ºC
- Spread the almonds on a baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes (or until they turn golden brown).
- Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Add the almonds and pitted dates to your food processor/blender and process for about 30 seconds, until they turn into a sticky, fine meal.
- Scoop out a 1/4 cup of this meal and set aside, for garnish.
- Line an 8" | 20 cm square pan (or a 9" | 23 cm round pan) with parchment paper, pour in the mixture and press it down firmly.
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
- Soak the medjoul dates in hot (but not boiling) water for 10 minutes.
- Drain the dates and squeeze the excess liquid.
- Add the dates along with the rest of the ingredients to your food processor and process for a few minutes, until the caramel is smooth and there are no chunks of dates left.
- Pour the caramel over the "cheesecake" base and spread evenly with the help of a spatula.
- Sprinkle the almond slices over the caramel layer and place the pan in the freezer for a few minutes, while you work on the cashew cream.
ALMOND CINNAMON CASHEW CREAM
- Rinse and drain the soaked cashews.
- Add them to the food processor/blender and process for a couple of minutes, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process until the cashews turn into a smooth paste.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and process at the highest speed for a few minutes until you get a rich, creamy mixture. Be patient and blend until the cashew cream is completely silky.
- Remove the "cheesecake" pan from the freezer and pour the cream into the pan.
- Gently shake the pan a little to even out the surface and remove any air bubbles that might be trapped in the cream.
- Place the "cheesecake" in the freezer for at least 8 hours so it sets completely.
- Remove "cheesecake" from the freezer and slice immediately.
- Allow the slices to thaw out for 20 minutes, sprinkle with some almond-date meal and a few almond slices and serve.
PS- The "cheesecake" will hold in the freezer for 6 weeks. You can slice it and freeze the slices separately. This way, you can have a slice of cake whenever you want!