So, I've been hanging out at this great little cafe lately that serves a lot of Raw Cakes. I always used to pass them by thinking they looked nice but wasnt very interested. However, since getting on my sugar free kick, I've been very intrigued by the whole Raw Food Thing. Your tastebuds just re-adjust to life without sugar. Natural things seem beautifully, naturally sweet - an apple, a banana and if a turbo charged bit of sweetness is required perhaps a date. Now we're talking!
Anyway, I digress... I have been looking at a number of raw food recipes lately and thought the deserts looked just beautiful. Jewel colours, great textures, and on the good nutrition scale - off the chart ! I wanted to experiment today with a Raw Strawberry Cheesecake. The bases are a mixture of nuts and natural Medjool Dates which provide both the sweetness and the 'stick' to make it all hold together.
The fillings tend to follow a set pattern too. A mixture of ground nuts, sweetness in the form of honey, agave nectar, rice syrup or maple syrup, the setting and binding agent to hold its shape is usually virgin coconut oil and your flavouring of choice - fruit of some type.
I can't help thinking that raw food would have been diabolically boring before the advent of the modern food processor as it is this little beauty that transforms these usually bulky ingredients into smooth pastes and workable textures.
OK so here's how it goes - and when I say its simple - believe me its super simple.
You could make this in one springform cake pan as one large cake or I used stainless steel food prep collars to create 4 individual serves. To be honest the four single serves could easily have been halved and served as a moon shape with a scoop of my raw strawberry and banana 'icecream'. Perfect serving size.
Raw Strawberry Cheesecake
1 Cup Raw Macadamia Nuts
1/2 to 1 Cup Raw Almonds
8 Fresh Medjool Dates - stones removed
1 Cup Raw Macadamia Nuts
1 Cup Raw Pecan Nuts
1/4 Cup Virgin Coconut Oil at Room temperature ( either liquid or soft)
1/4 cup raw honey (if you prefer it sweeter just add a little more to taste)
10 fresh hulled strawberries
1 Also used one 15g Sachet of Nutrafresh Freeze Dried Strawberry Powder (you could easily just use the rest of your punnet of strawberries in stead)
A little cold water to help get the consistency right - add this last and just a little at a time until you get the desired consistency - remembering it will firm up upon chilling.
- Blitz your base ingredients in your food processor until combined. Remove lid and check if it holds together when you squeeze some between thumb and forefinger. If it does - you're done.
- I then pressed the base mix into the bottom of my steel collar moulds - you choose the depth - mine was about 1cm deep. Alternatively press into your springform pan that has been lined with baking paper for easy removal.
- Now you're ready to make the filing. Start by blending the nuts to a fine texture then add your oil, strawberries and honey and check the consistency once combined.
- If it is a little dry then you can now add a little water at a time and pulsing until you get the right consistency. You don't want runny just creamy.
- Spoon this mix evenly into your pan or in my case the collars. The mix is dense enough that it will hold itself well.
- Place in the freezer for at least an hour or two.
- When ready to serve remove to the fridge for about half an hour prior to serving and they will soften enough to eat easily. This was divine served with my raw strawberry icecream...
Raw Strawberry Icecream
4 very ripe skinned frozen bananas
1 punnet of fresh strawberries hulled and frozen (alternatively use pre-frozen berries of your choice)
- You need to have the bananas and the berries already frozen - so you need to have this recipe started in advance or keep these things handy in your freezer. The riper your bananas are the sweeter your icecream will be. This is the only sweetness in your recipe.
- Place bananas and berries into your food processor and blitz until they chip down, then you continue to blend and they will begin to melt slightly and they will form a beautiful creamy 'icecream'. Anyone would be hard pressed to not think this was the dairy variety.
- You could easily experiment with flavours for this - vary your berries - keep the banana as your base as this is where the creamy sweetness comes from - add raw cacao perhaps, ginger, lemongrass or whatever berries you like - possibilities are endless.
- Once this is blended up I just put it into a plastic container then back in the freezer. It thaws quick in the fridge so just move it into the fridge about 1/2 hour before serving it.
Happy cooking, or not-cooking as the case may be. Play around and discover how wonderful raw deserts can be. No sugar, no dairy, no gluten - just the pure amazing flavours of nature.