You would never know these mini cheesecakes are dairy free. They taste so much like the “real” thing, that I hesitate to put quotation marks around “cheese” cake. The blend of cashew cream, coconut milk, and coconut oil serves up the smooth creaminess you would expect in a cheesecake.
I bumped up the nutrition by adding a larger proportion of berries, so that each cheesecake is actually a tiny bowl of luscious blueberries encased in a creamy base with a touch of lime — not too rich and just enough sweet to satisfy. I also used just under a cup of dates for the crust. It still held together, and I found it to be plenty sweet. However, feel free to adjust the proportions to your liking.
Cold like ice cream, smothered in berries — these mini cheesecakes are a great make-ahead summer dessert in convenient single servings. Store them in a ziploc bag in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.
A good quality, standard blender should work here, as long as your cashews are soft. I used a high speed blender, and as I’m writing this, I’m also wondering if that would also work for the crust, since the only down side to this otherwise super easy recipe is having to use (and wash) two different containers. (I am LAZY when it comes to washing pots and pans and believe laziness may be the mother of invention).
While I’m on the topic, I should make a plug for the Vitamix. We use ours for so many things, although the initial price is high, the price per use actually makes it a pretty good deal.
As for tamping down the crust, you might use the bottom of a small glass or a spoon. You’re bound to have something in your kitchen (or house). Be creative. You could even use your fingers. I found the bottom of a glass spice jar, covered with plastic wrap, works beautifully.
Makes 12 servings
1 c medjool dates, pitted (about 9 dates, or more if you like)
1 c raw walnuts, pecans, or almonds
½ t sea salt (use less if using table salt)
1 1/2 c raw cashews, soaked*
juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
1/3 c coconut oil, soft or melted
1/2 c full fat coconut milk
1/3 c honey (maple syrup for vegan), or more to taste
zest of 1 lime, optional
about 3/4 c blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen
HOW TO MAKE MINI BERRY CHEESECAKES
If you haven’t soaked your cashews overnight, soak them now.
Using a food processor, roughly chop dates. Add walnuts and salt, and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. It should stick together somewhat when pressed, more or less so, depending on how many dates you’ve used.
Prepare regular size muffin tin with muffin liners. Divide the crust evenly among the muffin cups (about 1 T each). Tamp down well and set aside.
Rinse and drain cashews. Using a blender, blend cashews, lime juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, honey, and zest (if using) until smooth. Adjust sweetener if desired.
Fill muffin cups (each will be about ¾ full). Add blueberries, pressing gently to partially submerge.
Freeze until firm (about 4 hours). Remove from muffin tin, and serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream, if desired.
OVERNIGHT SOAK: Dissolve about 2 teaspoons of sea salt in 2 cups of warm water. Add cashews, cover, and soak overnight. (An overnight soak in salt water makes the nuts easier to digest and increases bioavailability).
QUICK SOAK: Pour boiling water over cashews and soak for at least 30 minutes until softened.
Slightly modified from Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Cheesecakes. Check out her peanut butter and caramel versions.