I love to experiment…especially with food. Of course, nothing makes me happier than a successful creation and seeing other people enjoy it. It’s my inner 80 yr old grandma, I show my love by feeding you. So if you need love and are hungry, then come over…I got plenty to spare.
But here’s the caveat….I always try to make recipes a bit more “healthy” by swapping out refined sugar for natural sugars like honey, agave nectar or maple syrup. Recently I have been experimenting with gluten-free and dairy-free foods in a quest to tackle allergen free cooking for my husband.
Recently I stumbled upon a secret that vegans and nondairy consumers have known for quite some time….cashew “cheese”. Soak raw unsalted cashews overnight (or at least 4 hrs), puree them in a STRONG food processor or Vita-mix blender, and holy hell, you will get a beautiful cashew custard cream sauce that can be used in a multitude of ways. Ya. I’m not kidding. Those crazy vegans are totally on to something. Cashew cream is the base for this Raw Cashew Cream Pie which is basically a vegan cheesecake.
I have struggled with calling this dessert a cheesecake, because really…it isn’t. I wish there was a better name for it, maybe Casheesecake? Cheeshew pie? Come on people…help me out. I have settled with Cashew Cream Pie. If you have something better, throw it out there and we will discuss it over a slice.
Well whatever it is, it’s deeeelicious. The crust is a combination of pureed Medjool dates (pitted of course), almonds, pecans, cocoa powder, and salt. I’ve experimented with three different flavor variations: (1) Raspberry and Vanilla, (2) Strawberry and Lemon, and (3) Chocolate and Banana. My favorite so far is the Raspberry and Vanilla, but all were fabulous. Because this dessert contains no processed sugars or gluten and is low carb, it will not spike your glucose or sit heavy on your gut (or butt) like most cheesecakes. It’s light yet so filling due to the protein from the nuts.
I hope you enjoy this refreshing and healthier take on cheesecake.
Raw Cashew Cream Pie (adapted from My New Roots), serves 8
- 1/2 cup nuts (I used half almonds and half pecans)
- 1/2 cup dates, pitted
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Vanilla Cashew Cream Filling:
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (pre-soaked) raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (honey or agave nectar would also work)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Berry – Reserve half of vanilla filling and add 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries (if using frozen berries, make sure they are thawed and well drained).
- Banana – Reserve half of vanilla filling and add 1 to 2 ripe pureed bananas.
- Chocolate – Reserve half of the vanilla filling and add 2 to 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- Lime – Replace the lemon juice with lime juice.
- In a food processor, place nuts, salt, and pitted dates and pulse until the ingredients combine into a paste. The mixture should hold together when you pinch a small amount between your fingers. Place saran wrap in a 7″ pie pan (spring form pans work best but aren’t necessary) or 8×8″ square baking dish. Spoon crust mixture into pan and press evenly and firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed. Wash and rinse the food processor.
- Microwave the coconut oil in a small pyrex dish for 30 seconds until mostly melted. Whisk in maple syrup to combine.
- In the most powerful food processor or blender that you own (a Vitamix blender works great but I have a Cuisinart Pro Plus food processor that processed this mixture like a champ and a half), place cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla and blend on high for several minutes or until very smooth.
- For a plain vanilla layer, pour half of the mixture onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. With the remaining filling, add berries or banana or chocolate into the processor and blend on high until smooth. Pour this mixture onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer for about 2 hours or until solid.
- To serve, remove from freezer about 30 minutes before serving. Heat a smooth and sharp knife under hot water and cut the pie into 8 slices. Store any remaining pie in the freezer.