Sea at Book of Yum is hosting a Gluten-Free Vegetarian Thanksgiving Event and I decided to bring–what else?–dessert! This vegan cheesecake combines sweet orange and tart cranberries for a decadent and festive-looking finale to your holiday meal. Since it requires no baking, it won’t compete for oven space with your squash and green bean casserole either.
This recipe makes one party-size 10-inch cheesecake. Happy Thanksgiving!
2¼ cups raw organic pecans
1T coconut sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla powder (optional)
¼ cup fruit-juice sweetened dried cranberries
4 large Medjool dates
5T coconut flour
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours and drained
1½ cups coconut or other nut milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened)
1 cup honey
1/4 cup organic lemon juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
1/2 cup organic orange juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
2 drops Medicine Flower vanilla extract or 1 tsp regular vanilla extract
5 drops Medicine Flower orange extract or 2 tsp regular orange extract
3/4 cup coconut oil
3T raw organic sunflower lecithin
2 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cups coconut nectar or honey
1T lemon juice
1 to 1½T arrowroot powder
1 drop Medicine Flower vanilla extract (optional)
A few shakes cinnamon
Topping directions: (Note: Topping can be made the day before and refrigerated to save time). Combine all ingredients except arrowroot powder and vanilla extract in a non-stick pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring periodically, until mixture begins to bubble and cranberry skins start to pop. Sift in arrowroot powder slowly, one-half tablespoon at at time, and cook until mixture is thickened to the consistency of cranberry sauce. Remove from heat and stir in extract, if using. Set aside.
Crust directions: Soak dates and dried cranberries in a small bowl. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine all other ingredients except coconut flour and blend until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Drain dates and cranberries, add to processor bowl and blend again until the mixtureholds together in a clump. It should look quite moist and oily. Add coconut flour a tablespoon or two at a time, processing between additions.
Lightly grease the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and dust with coconut flour (tip: for easier serving, invert the bottom of the springform pan–a little trick I learned from one of my favorite raw dessert books, Sweet Gratitude). Press prepared mixture into bottom of pan and set aside, uncovered.
Filling directions: Drain cashews and add to Vita-Mix or high-speed blender along with all other ingredients except coconut oil and lecithin. Process at high speed for a minute or more until mixture is completely emulsified. Add coconut oil and process again. Add sunflower lecithin and process again.
Assembly: Pour cheesecake filling onto crust in prepared springform pan and freeze for at least four hours or overnight (the longer, the better). Remove side ring from springform pan and spread with cranberry topping. Garnish as desired, slice and serve (tip: if you cut slices while the cake is still frozen, the cranberry topping won’t bleed as heavily into the filling, making for a cleaner presentation).
Note: For a completely raw version, substitute a sweetened-up version of Elana’s raw cranberry sauce for the topping. You could even drizzle with raw chocolate sauce for added decadence.