Vegan Maple Pecan Cheesecakes
I’m addicted to cookery programmes like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, much to Mr N’s disgust. I was watching one of these programmes the other day when one of the competing teams made a vegan cheesecake that looked absolutely amazing! I’ve seen vegan cheesecakes pop up on the internet from time to time, but I’ve never considered making one. I’m not a vegan, I’m not dairy intolerant and I like proper cheesecakes…. made with cheese.
But this cheese-less cheesecake on the tv looked amazing. It was raw, made with a base of dates and almonds and with a lemon and raspberry topping made using cashew cheese (cashew nuts that have been soaked in water and then blended until smooth). The thing that clinched it for me as a ‘must try’, was that all of the judges on the programme were nervous about eating it, but absolutely raved about it once they’d finished it.
A delicious, raw, cheese-less cheesecake could make a nutritious, gluten-free, dairy-free dessert that both myself and Mr N could enjoy, I decided to make my own version, with pecan and maple, and see how it worked out.
How I made it
I’m on a tight budget, so I shopped around for my ingredients. The cashews are from Lidl and the almonds are from ALDI, I splashed out on the Medjool dates but I think you can buy them in some of the larger supermarkets.
I wanted to make mini cheesecakes, like the ones I’d seen on this tv programme, but I didn’t have any of the proper chef’s rings. I could have bought some, but I honestly think Mr N will go ballistic if I buy any more kitchen equipment. He really wasn’t happy when the Lakeland spiralizer materialized in the kitchen, even though I hid all of the packaging and hoped he wouldn’t notice. So I decided to make my own chef’s rings from the cardboard tube inside a roll of dinosaur wrapping paper that Master N has been pretending to slay dragons with for the last few days.
I used a sharp knife to cut out rounds about 1 inch thick. I then lined each round with baking paper, making sure that none of the cheesecake would actually come into contact with the cardboard.
I blitzed up the date and almond base in the food processor and packed 3 teaspoons of the mix into each ring, using the end of a wooden spoon.
Then I melted the coconut oil and maple syrup and blended this with the cashews and some vanilla extract. I had soaked the cashews overnight but they still took a lot of blending to get them smooth. Every few minutes I stopped the blender to scrape down the sides and bottom then blended again.
Eventually the puree became smooth and at that point I spooned it into the moulds and pressed it down firmly. I trimmed the baking paper and smoothed the tops to make them look a little neater.
I candied some pecan nuts in maple syrup on the hob and topped my cheesecakes with these.
I like little mini desserts like this, they stop me from overeating! These little cheesecakes are a little lighter than a normal cheesecake, nutty and sweet without being overly sweet. The candied pecans were really amazing, and when you had a bite of each component together, it was a perfect combination of texture and flavour. Eating this dessert felt like a real treat, but with none of the guilt that comes after eating something genuinely sinful. They took a bit of time to prepare, but Mr N appreciated being able to finally eat a dessert that wouldn’t give him stomach cramps for a week afterwards. I enjoyed them too. Definitely worth making.
Full recipe for Vegan Maple Pecan Cheesecake.