Cheesecake. Paleo. These two things do not go together.
Unless, that is, you blow up the rules for what a cheesecake should be.
For example, that it should have cheese. And eggs. And a graham cracker crust.
Before you throw yourself off a bridge in despair, hear my cry: my Paleo version of cheesecake has none of the above, but it will blow. your. socks. off.
Moreover, by some bizarre alignment of the ingredient gods, the result tastes like cheesecake. Lush, velvety, indulgent cheesecake, with the signature tang of the real thing and a decadent crust to boot.
Are you ready? Let’s get to it!
Before you do anything else, you will need to soak some raw cashews for at least 12 hours, and then drain. You can find raw cashews at natural foods stores and in the health food section of the grocery store. Once blended, they will comprise a major portion of the silken filling.
The crust could not be simpler: moist dates, unsweetened flaked coconut, and almonds. Simply pulse in the food processor and then press in the bottom of a springform pan. Done.
The filling likewise requires no cooking nor baking of any kind, but you will need to blend like crazy. Pulverize the aforementioned soaked cashews with coconut milk, melted coconut oil (this is essential for holding everything together once chilled), lemon juice, and maple syrup, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides; the goal is a perfectly smooth consistency. A high-speed blender works best, but a regular blender will work, too, with plenty of blending.
Now pour the filling into the prepared crust and freeze until set. That’s it! Just like any basic cheesecake, you can flavor the filling in countless ways or top the finished cake with fruit (I am a sucker for fresh berries), or perhaps a drizzle of caramel or melted dark chocolate. To cheesecake!
- 3/4 cup almonds or pecans
- 1/3 cup unsweetened flake coconut
- 1 cup packed pitted dates
- 2–1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight in cold water)
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, well-stirred
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- (optional) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- (optional) toppings, such as fresh fruit, melted chocolate. or caramel sauce
- Line the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper or wax paper; grease sides of pan (coconut oil is a good choice)
- Place the almonds and coconut in a food processor; process until finely chopped. add the dates, pulse, using on/off pulses; until dates are finely chopped and mixture comes together as a cohesive dough. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
- Filling: Drain the cashews and place in high-speed blender. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and (optional) vanilla. Processor, stopping to scrape down blender several times, until completely smooth.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover pan with foil and freeze for at least 12 hours until set. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into slices and serving.
- Let thaw at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.