Summer has indeed come to an end. Everyone is heads down in school, the yard is empty, the roses have slowed down, the dog is lonely, and it’s getting darker earlier. But the blackberries are going strong.
The 2012 Seattle eternal summer brought quite a bounty of blackberries. All along the streets in my neighborhood the blackberries glisten with plumpness, ready to be gently rolled off their vines. My fingers turn purple from leaky berry juice, joined by a few accidental thorn punctures. And it’s all worth it. I’ve frozen two pie-loads of berries, I’m making blackberry syrup for pancakes, and there’s this raw blackberry cheesecake.
I’m enamored of how cashews and lemon make such an amazing couple. The trick is to soak the cashews and then process the white layer for a minute or two for a smooth, creamy filling that seriously rivals the traditional dairy-based cheesecake. Yes, completely dairy-free!
I soak the raw almonds that are part of the crust layer for this cake, but you don’t have to. And some nuts don’t need soaking, such as macadamia and Brazil nuts. Soaking removes much of the tannins from the skins, and activates the enzymes that make the nut easier to digest. If you’re not into raw crusts, you can use any kind of crust for this cake, it’s just traditionally made with a raw date and nut crust. Some folks add shredded coconut to the crust as well. So it’s up to you.
Regarding the berries, I have so many blackberries right now that I felt immense pressure to use them, but I normally prefer blueberries or strawberries in this recipe. And while I love the tie-dyed look that the berry layer creates as it bleeds into the white layer, I think I prefer the berries processed in with the white layer. Using blueberries or strawberries also relieves me of having to separate the seeds from the berry topping.
Raw Blackberry Cheesecake
Yield 8 servings
I recommend a 7-inch spring form pan, although any type of pan or dish will work because you're not baking it. I wouldn't go bigger than an 8-inch spring form pan, or double the white layer recipe to keep some height to the cake. You may want to cut out a piece of parchment paper to put on the bottom of the pan so you can easily slide the cake out when you're ready to serve it. When I don't use parchment paper, it's still relatively easy to remove the cake when it's frozen or very cold.
- 1/2 cup of raw almonds (or macadamia nuts, brazil, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, just to give you some options)
- 1/2 cup of Medjool dates
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 3 hours)
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil
- 1/3 cup of lemon juice (or lime juice)
- 1/3 cup of raw honey (or pasteurized; up to you)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
cup of blackberries (or other berry; fresh or frozen)
- 3 tablespoons of raw honey (or pasteurized), or to taste
- To make the crust layer, place the almonds, dates, and salt in a food processor and process until the dough sticks together. If you want a finer crust, keep processing a bit longer.
- In a baking pan, or spring form pan, press the crust evenly across the bottom of the pan.
- Place the crust in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to fill it.
- Place the white layer ingredients in a food processor (or high speed blender), and process until smooth and creamy.
- Place the white layer on top of the crust and smooth it out evenly using a spatula, or by shuffling the pan back and forth.
- Place the berry layer ingredients in the food processor or blender, and blend for a bit to break down the berries and blend the honey.
- Separate the blackberry seeds from the fruit puree using a fine mesh strainer, and then pour the berry layer on top of the white layer.
- Freeze until ready to use, or store in the refrigerator if you'll be using it soon.
- If you've frozen it, thaw for about 30 minutes at room temperature, or until you can cut a slice with a sharp knife. You can also thaw it for a few hours in the refrigerator.