One summer up at the cottage, our neighbor introduced me to Jello brand no-bake cheesecake.  A bit of melted butter goes into the crumbs for the crust, and you whip the powder with milk until thick, pouring into the pie plate on top of the crust.  Chill and enjoy.  So easy, and with the variety of flavors including French Silk, we were going for these almost every weekend up there.  I grew to love cheesecake (there was another incident I recall that involved the leftovers of a mixed-cheesecake platter in the back of our fridge, I remember how many pieces I ate, and I am not going to share that with you).  While I know the Jello boxed variety is far, far from kosher, I reminisce about the ease of preparation.

Fast forward almost 2 decades and I am no longer on the ‘processed foods’ wagon.  For one, I know it’s not healthy.  Two, in Malaysia, it’s not available.  So when I saw this recipe on my recent food blog obsession, My New Roots, I had to try it out.  Some of the terms might be off-putting or scary, so let me translate: ‘raw’ = no-bake (no hot oven in sticky Penang); ‘vegan’ = no $6 packs of cream cheese (no other expensive dairy either).  Also, how can I not feel good about serving this up to my play group and their tinies: dried fruit, nuts, honey as sweetener, antioxidants of berries, the miracle of coconut oil… The taste is not exactly Jello-style or cheesecake style but better: creamy, tangy, with a punch of salt from the crust. Healthy, delicious – I don’t even feel bad having this for breakfast!  Not that I ever avoided that in the previous no-bake arena.

No Bake ‘Cheese’ Cake (from My New Roots)

  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cup cashews, soaked 5+ hours and drained
  • Juice of 2+ lemons
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • seeds from one vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Berries or Flavoring (I used 3 Tbsp pomegranate syrup, but can also use 1 c fresh/frozen berries, 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, etc)
  1. Prepare a 7-8″ springform pan with parchment on the bottom, or line a pie plate with plastic wrap.
  2. Pulse dates, almonds and salt in a food processor until fine and crumbly.  Check that you can press it together with your fingers, if too dry, add a few more dates.  Pour into the pan and press to make a crust.
  3. Combine honey and coconut oil and heat gently until totally liquid.
  4. In blender, combine cashews, lemon juice, honey/oil and vanilla and blend until liquid and smooth.  She warns it takes a powerful machine to do this, but if your blender can make a frozen margarita, I bet it can handle it.
  5. Taste to correct lemon juice.  It should have a bit of tang to it.  I ended up adding another half a lemon’s juice.
  6. Pour 2/3 of the cashew cream on top of the crust and smooth.  Blend up the remaining cream with your flavoring, then spread that evenly on top of the other.
  7. Freeze until solid.  Remove 30 min prior to serving (or 10 minutes, if your “room temperature” is 85 with 100% humidity.  Slice, top with accentuating garnish (I chose pomegranate seeds, but you can go for other fresh fruit or chocolate shavings), and serve.
  8. Prepare to continuously assure your guests, no – there is no dairy in it.  Or avoid this confrontation by eating the whole thing yourself.
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