Today I share a sumptuous vegan cheesecake recipe using a culturing process to create authentic nut-based cream cheese. I use my own easy-to-make Quinoa Rejuvelac as the starter for the nut cheese, and add absolutely no sugar or sweetener to the cheesecake. Dates blended in water is all I use as additional sweetening. Nothing is lost in using a whole food ingredient list, in fact the taste is improved for it. Silky smooth cream cheese made with just 2 ingredients is the star of this recipe and what sets this apart from a typical vegan cheesecake. This is everything you want in a cheesecake and nothing you don’t need. It’s oil-free as well, using coconut butter made from 100% coconut flesh to help firm, nothing less and nothing more. You can pair this with whatever berry is in season, creating a sauce to spoon on or simply adding fresh berries on top.
Based on an earlier recipe of mine, I adapted a few ingredients to improve the nutrition and remove things that didn’t offer us anything beneficial. Using as close to whole foods as possible, is always my aim. I think the cheesecake filling is much improved here, the flavour is slightly sour and just enough sweet without being overbearing. The nut base stays the same, just pecans and dates blended together. The filling removes the coconut oil and replaces with coconut butter, slightly less firm but you barely notice and the change is important because coconut butter is a whole food ingredient and oil is best avoided.
Don’t be afraid of the cheese making process. Each step is very quick taking just a few minutes, you just have to be organised and start the process with enough time to wait for the cheese. The rejuvelac recipe is more than you need just for this, so I usually make a few cheeses out of it. It can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks and used for things like cheese sauces for pasta and if you want to make a batch of basic nut cheese and freeze it you can do that too.
Note that I choose to make my own date syrup. I use about a cup of medjool dates to 1 cup water, simmer for 15 minutes, cool and blend. Add another 1-2 cups and simmer another 15 minutes if time allows and then refrigerate. That makes almost a litre of date syrup and has lasted us for a month so far, refrigerated. Store bought date syrup is heavily filtered and all fibre removed.
This recipe makes 2 x 3.5 inch round tin or ring moulds. This is very rich so I only make a small amount at a time. To make a normal 9inch spring form tin sized cheesecake, just triple the recipe.
Total Time for Cultured Cream Cheese: 2 days
Preparation Time for Cheesecake: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours minimum, overnight is better
Cultured Cashew Cheese
- 3/4 cup raw cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup rejuvelac
- 100g raw pecan nuts
- 75g medjool dates, stones removed
- cultured cashew cheese- as above
- 1/4 cup date syrup*
- 1/4 cup coconut butter ( 100% whole coconut flesh, dried )
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Directions for Cultured Cheese
- Soak the cashews in filtered water overnight, minimum 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Place cashews in a blender with the rejuvelac and blend until well combined.
- Drain in a nut milk bag or similar and suspend over a jug, cover with a plate and leave for 24 hours.
- Remove from nut milk bag and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
Directions For Cheesecake.
- Process the base ingredients until combined, don’t over-do it or you’ll get an oily layer to it.
- Push into tin/s or ring moulds firmly. Place in freezer.
- Melt the coconut butter very gently on low heat until only just softened. Allow to cool down a bit.
- Place filling ingredients, the cultured cheese, date syrup, coconut butter, vanilla essence and lemon juice, into a high speed blender and combine well. Use a tamper tool here or stop and start pushing mix down as you go.
- Take the bases out of the freezer and pour or spoon filling evenly into them.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but its much better and firmer if left for 12 hours or more.
- Once firm, serve with either fresh seasonal berries or I like to make a quick sauce with frozen raspberries. I just heat around 1/4 cup frozen berries with a tablespoon of 100% date sugar and some water and allow to cool.
This will keep well refrigerated for a week and can be frozen as well.