Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

 

I recently did a 6 week cleanse which was essentially a sugar detox, i.e. no sugar, fruit or sweeteners of any kind for 6 weeks. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. When you start looking you find almost everything has sugar in it these days, and eating out (which we love) was challenging to say the least! I did feel amazing by the end of it though, and got some great results so it was well worth it.

One of things I missed the most during the 6 weeks was nutrient-rich, raw desserts. So to celebrate the end of my sugar detox I created this raw boysenberry and vanilla bean cheesecake. I chose a low fructose fruit to be the star and kept the unrefined sugar content as low as possible, as even though I finished my sugar detox I feel way better when I eat as little sugar as possible.

For those not familiar with boysenberries, they’re very similar in appearance to blackberries but are slightly sweeter and have a purple and red hue. Most New Zealanders will associate boysenberries with the iconic ice cream flavour, but a quick google search told me their origins were in California and they’re the reason Knott’s berry farm became so famous (who knew!). They were introduced to New Zealand in the 1930’s and we are now the biggest exporter of them.

As proven by our iconic boysenberry ice cream flavour, vanilla and boysenberries are a match made in heaven so for this cheesecake I created a creamy vanilla layer and topped it with a tangy boysenberry layer. But I think if you wanted to swirl them together it would look and taste just as amazing.

The base of this cheesecake is made from almonds, coconut, medjool dates, coconut oil and lemon zest. Medjool dates act as a binding agent and are a whole food sweetener that contain beneficial amounts of the minerals zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, they also contain vitamins B6 and A and soluble dietary fibre. Dates are high in fructose which is not ideal if you’re trying to keep your sugar consumption low, however, their high fibre content slows down the fructose absorption and when combined with protein (in the form of nuts here) this also acts to slow it down.

The cheesecake filling is made from a base of soaked cashew nuts, coconut milk, cacao butter, coconut oil and an unrefined sweetener. Soaking the cashew nuts makes them much easier to blend, creates a lovely creamy texture, and most importantly, removes the natural enzyme inhibitors and allows the cashews to be digested much more easily by your body.

The addition of coconut milk helps create the right consistency and coconut oil provides a setting quality. Coconut oil is also great source of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it’s considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid and is processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Raw cacao butter is the pure cold pressed oil of the cocoa bean and is very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are so important because they reduce the inflammatory action of free radicals, which slows the ageing process. Woop!

Boysenberries like most bramble fruits are also a fantastic source of antioxidants and as mentioned above, contain relatively low levels of fructose compared to other fruits.

There are a couple of options to choose from for the sweetener in the cheesecake filling. Rice syrup is the lowest fructose choice and has the least sweet flavour. Pure maple syrup and raw honey will provide a sweeter flavour and while they contain more fructose than rice syrup, they also contain other beneficial nutrients. See the notes below for more on how to choose a good raw honey and pure maple syrup.

As you can see, this raw dessert is full of nutritional value which goes a long way in balancing out the unrefined and whole food sugars that it also contains. Plus, because it’s high in protein you’ll only need a small serving to satisfy.

I hope you give this raw cheesecake a try and if you post any pictures to social media I would love to see them! Tag @swoon.food or #swoonfood so I can come and admire them. Enjoy!

 

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

 

Raw Boysenberry & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Makes: One 10cm x 25cm loaf tin / approximately 10 slices
Prep time: 1/2 hour Soaking time: 2 to 4 hours Chill time: 1 hour

Base

1/4 cup (35g) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (85g) almonds
pinch pink Himalayan salt
5 (75g) medjool dates, pitted
zest of 1 organic lemon (if can’t get organic can leave this out)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Vanilla Bean Layer

1 cup cashews, soaked (see note below)
1/4 cup coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1/4 cup rice syrup (can be substituted for pure maple syrup or raw honey for a sweeter version)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/8 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Boysenberry Layer

1 cup cashews, soaked (see note below)
1 cup (140g) boysenberries (or blackberries)
1 Tbsp coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1 Tbsp pure rice syrup (can be substituted for pure maple syrup or raw honey, see note below)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts, place them in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2 to 4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin (or tin of your choice) with a double layer of cling film and set aside.

To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut, almonds and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until well combined. Add the lemon zest if using. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the base mixture evenly into the prepared tin, then place in the fridge to set.

To make the vanilla bean filling, gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, pure maple syrup, lemon juice, sea salt and vanilla, and blend until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth vanilla cream. Pour the vanilla bean filling onto the prepared base, smooth with a spatula and place in the freezer to firm up.

To make the boysenberry filling, gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the boysenberries, coconut milk, pure maple syrup, lemon juice and sea salt and blend until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth berry cream. Remove the vanilla cheesecake layer from the freezer and if the top is just set when lightly touched it’s ready for the boysenberry layer to be carefully poured on top. If not return to the freezer to set up for another 10 minutes (unless you want a swirly cheesecake in which case the vanilla layer doesn’t need to be set). When the boysenberry layer has been added, smooth with a spatula and place back in the freezer to firm up.

Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge a few hours before you want to serve it. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the tin using the cling film, place on a chopping board and peel back the cling film. Cut into slices, place on serving plates and decorate with freeze dried berries and edible flowers. Once defrosted the raw cheesecake will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Raw boysenberry and vanilla bean cheesecake

 

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in this cheesecake filling are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the nuts in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 46ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for a couple of hours. The aim is to keep the nuts below 46ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw. High fat nuts like brazil and macadamia nuts don’t show significant nutritional benefits from this process, so there isn’t any advantage in activating these.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 46ºC. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, place the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 46ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is harvested from maple trees by extracting the sap, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains natural phenols which acts antioxidants as well as small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which is literally empty calories. Pure maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.

Note on raw honey: raw or unprocessed honey is a wholefood sweetener that has a higher fructose content than pure maple syrup but it also contains more antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties too. Raw or unprocessed honey can usually be found at farmers markets and specialty food stores. Most of New Zealand’s Manuka honey is also minimally processed and contains much of it’s inherent nutrients and protective properties. Beware of liquid honey’s, especially the types in squeezy bottles as these have been refined and often don’t contain any beneficial properties.

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

The Lightest Raw Cheesecake You’ll Ever Eat

These Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecakes are like no other raw cheesecake I’ve eaten to date!

They have the most amazing light and creamy, almost mousse-like texture, which is reminiscent of the cheesecakes and mousses I used to make as a pastry chef.

BUT the difference is this one is made entirely without any dairy products, gluten, eggs or refined sugar. Nick even said “I think this is the best thing you’ve made yet!”, which is saying something given he’s not usually a fan of the raw dessert variety.

 

The Secret Is In The Proportions

The cheesecake layer in this recipe has a base of soaked cashews which gives it its super creamy flavour and texture. Coconut oil provides the set and vanilla and raw cacao provide the flavours.

The key difference in this recipe is the proportions of these ingredients, and using coconut milk and a blender to create an amazing light texture. 

The base for this cheesecake is the same recipe I used for these Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes. It’s a combination of coconut, almonds, cashews, dates and raw cacao. The mild chocolate flavour of this base goes so well with the creamy chocolate and vanilla flavours of this cheesecake.

 

Why & How To Soak & Activate Nuts

The reason for soaking the cashews in this recipe is two fold. Firstly it’s to soften them so that they blend into a smooth cream. The second is to activate them. Activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible.

If you’re not familiar with soaking and and ‘activating’ nuts, I’ve put some notes down below on this, as well as how to melt raw ingredients and keep them in their raw state, choosing a good quality coconut oil, and what to look for when buying pure maple syrup.

 

Make As Individual Or One Large Cheesecake

I usually make these cheesecakes in a 6 hole texan muffin pan to create 6 good sized individual servings. I find this size works for this cheesecake as it’s not overly sweet or rich. However, if you think you’d prefer a smaller serving by all means use a 12 hole standard muffin pan, and if you prefer your cheesecake as a slice, feel free to make it in an 8″ round springform pan instead.

 

Eat Chilled Or Frozen

It’s best to allow these raw cheesecakes to chill until fully set, and serve chilled. But if you need them faster, you can put them into the freezer to speed things up. If you accidentally end up freezing them, don’t worry! They defrost fast, but equally, they taste pretty amazing frozen as they slowly melt and turn into a creamy mousse cake.

Hope you give this amazing recipe a try, and if you post any pictures to Instagram I would love to see your creations! Tag @swoonfood and #swoonfood so I can find them.

Enjoy!

 

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

Makes: 6 or 12 mini cheesecakes or 1 x 8″ cake.
Prep time: 1 hour Soaking time: 2-4 hours Chill time: 30 minutes

Base

1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
5 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Vanilla Coconut Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used Little Islands Original Coconut Drinking Milk)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Chocolate Coconut Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used Little Islands Original Coconut Drinking Milk)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (see not above)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts. Place 2 cups of raw cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line either a 6 hole texan muffin pan, a 12 hole standard muffin pan or an 8 inch springform tin with cling film. Place the desiccated coconut into a food processor and blend until it starts to break down. Add the almonds and blend until they are half ground, then add the cashews, cacao powder and salt. Blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each standard muffin hole or a couple of spoonfuls into each texan muffin hole (or the whole lot into the 8″ tin) and place the pan in the fridge to set.

To make the vanilla coconut layer first gently melt your coconut oil using the instructions in the notes above. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Divide the vanilla mixture between the muffin holes (or pour into the 8″ tin) and smooth the top. Set aside while you make the chocolate layer.

To make the chocolate layer, again gently melt your coconut oil using the instructions in the notes above. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, maple syrup, raw cacao powder, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Gently pour the chocolate mixture on top of the vanilla layer of each cheesecake and use a spoon to swirl the tops. Place the cheesecakes either in the fridge or freezer to chill until set, approximately 30 minutes to an hour.

To serve, remove the cheesecake(s) from the tin and peel off the cling film. Place on a serving plate and decorate with edible flowers. These cheesecakes will keep, covered for up to 5 days in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer if well sealed.

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake