In my opinion, anything that tastes like caramel tastes way too awesome to have any nutritional value. But a couple years ago, upon discovering the magic of some fresh dates blended with coconut oil and cashews, that all changed. I COULD have caramel again. Or at least something that did a damn good job of disguising itself as caramel. Ever since, I have relied on dates to satisfy my occasional (or sometimes not so occasional) yearning for a sugary, buttery taste of heaven that we have all have come to enjoy. So these days, I can stick to a healthy eating plan and not even miss the overly processed dairy-laden junk of the past.
Now, what makes a perfect pairing with caramel? My answer is always fruit. In this case, apples. Yes, I know it’s been done time and time again, and we have all surely had several caramel apples, but I guarantee that anything in raw cheesecake form is better – better for the Earth, your taste buds, your soul, and most certainly your body.
Raw Caramel Apple Cheesecake
1 1/3 c raw mixed nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, the more the merrier)
3 large fresh pitted medjool dates
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
Grind nuts, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until very fine. Add dates to processor and blend until mixture resembles cookie dough, about 15 seconds. Press mixture into 3-4 inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms or a 6-7 inch springform pan. Refrigerate.
1 large apple, or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped
1 ½ c raw cashews, soaked, strained, and rinsed
2 tbsp date sugar, or 2 soft dates
½ c date soaking liquid from caramel
¼ c melted coconut oil
½ tsp cinnamon
Blend everything in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Set half of this filling aside. Divide remaining mixture between crust(s).
½ c packed fresh dates, pitted and soaked in 1 c water
¼ c coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla or seeds from ½ vanilla bean
1 tbsp raw honey
½ c date soaking liquid
For serving: diced apple tossed in caramel sauce
Without washing blender, add caramel sauce ingredients and blend until a smooth sauce. Caramel will be noticeable thinner than cheesecake, but should not look or taste watery. Spoon 1-2 tbsp on top of each tartlet, then top with remaining cheesecake mixture, then swirl in a little more caramel on top. Reserve remaining caramel and diced apple for serving.