RAW dulce de leche cheesecake

So if you read this blog it's pretty apparent that I like recreating indulgent desserts in new healthy incarnations. I blame this o...

So if you read this blog it's pretty apparent that I like recreating indulgent desserts in new healthy incarnations. I blame this on my massive sweet tooth combined with my body's inability to handle refined sugar, dairy and gluten. All three combined spell headache, stomach ache and intense back pain. I love the taste of real cheesecake but with all that in mind, no thank you! 

I've been experimenting with nut-free and mostly RAW desserts this month. By 'experimenting' I really mean inventing -- as in no-recipe, throw a bunch of things in my food processor, creations. Luckily for me (and my husband) most of these experiments have turned out very well! Today's recipe is no exception.

This recipe is for my "raw" take on dulce de leche topped cheesecake. This recipe couldn't be easier to make (the most difficult task is turning on and off your food processor or blender). The cheesecake never enters the oven and instead sets up in your freezer pretty darn quickly so it's ready to eat that day. Get me a fork!

I made this recipe for a recent family dinner which my 95 year old grandmother attended. She's quite a magnificent lady. She looks about 75, tops, and is pretty sweet herself. She also has a sweet tooth so I created this dessert to satisfy it. I knew she would like it because for her birthday last year we brought her a dulce de leche topped cheesecake that she absolutely adored.

My grandmother is in amazingly good shape for her age. She still does her daily exercises even though two bad falls left her with two steel hips. She also tries to watch what she eats -- often complaining that all the desserts she eats at her retirement home are going to straight to her waistline -- actually that seems to really bother her. My brother in law likes to joke with her that now's the time to eat dessert with abandon because she's not bikini shopping anytime soon! That always makes her laugh. When I created this cheesecake my hope was that it would be something I could make for her easily that she could eat without any guilt. Because seriously, who needs guilt at 95?  

Overall I was really happy with how this cheesecake turned out. The crust is a slight variation on the last recipe I shared on this blog for my Raw Lemon Cream Pie, only this time its a little sturdier so that the removeable sides of the fluted tart shell pan I used slipped off easily after the filling set up in the fridge. This version of my paleo raw pie crust is also slightly more rich with a little oil  (its cheesecake after all!). The filling is a light and zesty and slightly lemony cheesecake that I made with coconut cream, chia (to replace the eggs traditionally found in cheesecake), lemon, some creamed coconut (to help the cheesecake filling solidify, you can substitute coconut manna) some pitted Sayer dates, raw honey and maple (you can use any liquid sweetener you like though -- like agave if you follow a raw diet). I can't vouch for making this recipe with substitutions because I have only made it this way, one time. But I am a strong believer that cooking and baking should always be about making a recipe your own, so I encourage you to take chances! Sometimes adding something extra and out of the box can make a delightful difference in a recipe. I took that approach to the dulce de leche topping... 

The topping for this cheesecake is really wonderful -- even on its own as a dessert sauce. Its basically my vegan date caramel sauce but with some liquified creamed coconut added into the mix to change up the flavor and thickness -- making it nuttier and much more interesting. I may only make date caramel this way from now on.

This cheesecake is a great option for people with food sensitivities. It is dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, refined-sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, raw and paleo! All that aside, it is still decadent and delightful.

This cheescake, though raw and made from whole food ingredients, tastes quite rich so I served it in small servings. My family loves food and desserts but surprisingly enough 10 of us couldn't finish this small cheesecake! My mom kept saying it was too rich for her to manage more than a sliver. I suppose the fact that we ate a lot before and there were a few other desserts that night may have had something to do with that! Try serving this raw vegan dulche de leche cheesecake at your next dinner party and be sure to bring your appetite!

Cheesecake Crust

Makes 1 shortcrust for 1 cheesecake made in a shortcrust pie pan
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp mild-flavored evoo
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Dash coarse sea salt
Blend all ingredients together in food processor until crumbly. Press into a short crust pastry pan evenly on bottom and up sides. Store in freezer 10 minutes before filling with raw vegan cheesecake filling, recipe below.

Cheesecake Filling

Makes filling for 1 shortcrust fluted pie pan
  • All the thick cream skimmed from a separated 400ml can of organic coconut milk (refrigerated unshaken can of coconut milk)
  • 2 dashes coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp mild-flavored evoo OR virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or sub agave to make RAW)
  • 1 tsp raw honey (or sub maple or agave)
  • 3 small pitted Sayer dates (or 1 large medjool date)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 large lemon, juice of
  • 3-4 liquid tbsps organic creamed coconut
Blend everything but the creamed coconut until very smooth in a food processor or blender..
If the creamed coconut pack is solid, gently liquify it by adding the sealed package to a bowl of hot water until it loosens. Add the 3 tbsps of liquid creamed coconut to the food processor and blend until thick and creamy, a minute or so. Scrape into center of frozen crust and spread out to the edges evenly.
Chill to set in freezer for at least 10 minutes before topping with dulce de leche topping, recipe below.

Dulce de Leche Topping(Raw/ Vegan/ Paleo)

Makes enough dulce de leche to top a cheesecake
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • dash coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup (optional but recommended, you can sub agave to make RAW)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp mild-flavored evoo OR virgin coconut oil (optional but recommended)
  • 2 tbsp liquid creamed coconut
Place your waterproof package of creamed coconut in a bowl of hot water to melt it slowly.
Pulse then blend everything except the creamed coconut in a food processor on high for 2 minutes until smooth and semi runny. Add the creamed coconut and blend to incorporate. Pour the mixture on top of the set up cheesecake layer and set in freezer for about 1 hour at least before serving.

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