This is my favorite version of the vegan "raw cheesecake," which consists of a blended, creamy filling that's usually cashew-based and agave-sweetened, and a nut-based bottom crust. Variations of the "cheesecake" can be found pretty much anywhere that offers raw vegan food. They don't really taste like traditional cheesecakes at all, but something completely different and at least as delicious. I don't call this a cheesecake because people who don't like cheesecake often love this, and cheesecake lovers who expect a cheesecake will be disappointed. Anyway, I love the flavor and color of the white chocolate juxtaposed with the raspberry filling. Lemon juice and zest sharpen the flavors, and the chocolate hazelnut crust is good enough to be eaten on its own.
Makes one 9" torte
Requires 1 day for soaking nuts
3/4 cup hazelnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170g) pitted, chopped dates, preferably medjool
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup cashews
2 cups hazelnut milk or almond milk (use homemade for the best-tasting result)
3/4 cup agave
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice plus the lemon zest
3 tablespoons soy lecithin (helps emulsify the oils), or sub with additional cocoa butter
2/3 cup cocoa butter, melted in a double boiler
6 oz fresh or frozen and defrosted raspberries
Rinse the cashews and soak in cold water for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
Add all the crust ingredients to a food processor except the dates, agave, and vanilla. Blend until the nuts are well broken down. Add the dates, agave, and vanilla and blend until consistent and the crust starts to rise on the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease the entire inside of a 9" or 10" springform pan with coconut oil. Place the crust mixture in the pan and press into an even layer with your hands.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add the cashews, 1+3/4 cup of the nut milk, agave, vanilla, salt, and half of the lemon juice and zest to a blender. Blend several minutes, until completely smooth. Add the soy lecithin and cocoa butter and blend until well incorporated. Pour all but about 2 cups of the filling into the springform pan on top of the crust. Add the raspberries and the remaining lemon juice, nut milk, and zest to the 2 cups of filling and blend until smooth.
Pour the raspberry filling lightly into the pan, making sure you pour around all parts of the pan. Use a spoon and/or chopstick to swirl the two colors into each other (be sure not to overdo it, because eventually the two colors will blend together. Place in the freezer to set for 1.5-2 hours, until the middle of the cheesecake is firm to the touch. Slice with a sharp knife and serve. Store covered in the fridge for up to several days.