The raw cheesecake experiment

by Bart on October 1, 2009

Last weekend I decided to continue my raw dessert making experiments. Although the blueberry pie I made was not a total failure, I was hoping that my next creation, a raw cheesecake, would turn out better.

The cheese in a raw cheesecake is, of course, not made from milk of any type, but is plant based. In many recipes the base for the cheese is made from cashews, often mixed with coconut oil. Although that sounds delicious, I decided I wanted to make something lighter this time around.

I came across a great recipe for a “Rawberry Cheezecake” on a blog called Have Raw Cake and Eat It. I took it as a sign, and decided to make this dessert, especially since it did not use nuts in the filling.

The recipe calls for a crust made from dates and almonds. The upside of using almonds is that they are not as bitter as walnuts can be. The downside, however, is that getting raw almonds in the US seems to be tricky.

Earlier this decade there were few cases of salmonella traced back to almonds. As a result almonds produced in California, which is where almost all almonds sold in the US come from, have to be pasteurized before they can be sold. This basically means that almonds are cooked and no longer raw.

I wasn’t able to find a confirmation of this, but since there are California based growers who sell raw almonds on the internet, the above might apply only to growers who sell through commercial channels, and not direct to the consumer.

The problem is, however, that even those pasteurized almonds are allowed to be sold with a “raw” label attached to them – talk about government sponsored fraud! As a result, unless one is certain that their California based source provides unheated almonds, it is safer to buy almonds imported from Spain – after all, it’s not like California economy needs any help.

But getting back to my cheesecake experiment. The filling, according to the recipe, should be made from a mix of blueberries and strawberries, but since I wanted to avoid using frozen berries this time, I decided on using strawberries only. Other ingredients are: bananas, coconut oil, avocado and agar agar.

It took me about 10 minutes to prepare the ingredients, process the filling in the blender, and pour it into the crust I had prepared earlier. Once the pie plate was in the fridge, I decided to try some of the leftover filling… and it was very tart. Unfortunately it was too late to add sweetener to it, so I decided to let it be and hope that after 6 hours in the fridge, the tart taste would disappear.

To my relief it did – the filling, and the crust, were both delicious. However, the consistency was much too soft and there was no way to cut the cake.

Raw strawberry cheesecake

Raw strawberry cheesecake

I’ve looked for a solution to this problem, and it appears that freezing the cake for a few hours, then transferring it to the refrigerator for an hour or so may work better. This supposedly allows the filling to solidify, while remaining soft enough to have a pleasant texture. I will surely try this the next time I experiment.

You can find the original recipe on the Have Raw Cake and Eat It blog.

Related posts:

  1. The raw cashew cheesecake experiment
  2. The raw blueberry pie experiment

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