It is undeniable that we all crave sugar and butter laden sweets during the holidays. This is especially true when we are always surrounded by foods that are high in calories but low in the valuable nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and energized. When we examine our December diets, it is no wonder why so many people get sick this time of year. So, I am happy to inform you that I have concocted a decadent, seasonal dessert that evokes holiday spirit without any of the sugar, animal products, empty calories, and lethargic side effects that most Christmas sweets contain. This “cheese”cake is rich and creamy, but the cranberry offers a tartness that beautifully balances the richness. The gingerbread sauce adds a burst of the fall and winter spices we all adore and the cranberry-coconut garnish offers a refreshing crunch. Bonus: the cheesecake is good for a few months in the freezer so you can prepare it well in advance. So there is no need to warm up the oven to prepare a cheesecake this Christmas – just grab your blender and stock up on nutritious raw foods, and before you know it your taste buds, your body and your soul with be thanking you for this perfect holiday treat!
Raw Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingerbread Sauce
(Raw, Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)
1 ½ c pecans
½ c gluten-free oats
8-10 fresh dates or 2/3 c date paste
Pinch sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon
In a food processor, pulse oats and nuts until finely ground. Break dates into small pieces and add to processor. Process until mixture forms a “dough” and crust sticks together between your fingers. Press into a springform pan and freeze while making the filling.
3 cups cashews (soaked for at least 1 hour)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup agave or other raw liquid sweetener
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
Blend all ingredients in Vitamix. You want this mixture to be thick, smooth, and creamy.
In Vitamix, add 2 c fresh cranberries, 1 large peeled orange or 2 clementines, ¼ c each fresh dates and agave, ½ tsp cinnamon. Run blender until a smooth sauce forms. Set aside 1/3 c for topping if desired.
Gingerbread sauce (optional):
In Vitamix, blend 1 c soaked dates, 1 c date soaking water or nut milk, ½ tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch of salt, and grated fresh ginger to taste until a smooth sauce forms.
Garnish: mix ¼ c chopped fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp shredded coconut and 1 tbsp agave
Pour half of cashew cream mixture over the frozen crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on counter top. Spoon half of cranberry mixture over cheesecake and swirl into cashew layer. Top with remaining cashew cream, then swirl in remaining cranberry sauce. Top with plastic wrap and freeze until completely frozen. Cut while frozen and serve partially frozen. Top with, sauce, garnish and enjoy!