When I look back on my teenage years, I fondly remember hanging out with friends and eating our body weight in dessert – cheesecake was a popular choice along with ice cream, chocolate and doughnuts. Whether we were going to the movies, having a sleep over or a picnic in the park, we always made sure we had something sweet to hand. My diet was not a concern back then, it was something that had never even crossed my mind if I’m honest. Healthy dessert or healthy living for that matter just wasn’t on my radar. I even specialised in ‘dessert’ in my food technology class(s) at school and very often brought home ‘afters’ for my family. I simply loved eating sweet, sugary treats and I was happy.
Fast forward several years I am now a 20 something vegan who tends to avoid eating refined sugar and processed foods. That is not to say dessert is off the menu though, I still have a major sweet tooth and one of my favourite things to do is recreate recipes inspired by my childhood favourites using whole and healthy foods. So when I was given the opportunity to create a decadent dessert by AO life, I knew exactly what to make. Cheesecake.
Cheesecake is traditionally full of cream, cheese, butter and sugar, none of which align with my way of eating so I swapped out these ingredients for some plant based alternatives. See below.
Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
15cm tin/approx. 8 slices
1 cup of hazelnuts
10 medjool dates
2 tbsp cacoa powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups of cashews (soaked for 6 hours/ideally overnight)
1/2 cup of hazelnut butter
1/2 cup of hazelnut milk
1/4 cup of agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup of cacoa powder
1/2 cup of agave syrup
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of crushed hazelnuts
1 cup of medjool dates
1/2 cup of cacao powder
- Place the hazelnuts into a food processor and process until finely chopped
- Add in the dates and pulse until combined with the nuts
- Pour in the coconut oil and cacoa powder and pulse until combined
- Add in the water and pulse until the mixture sticks together and forms a dough
- Press the mixture into the tin, making sure it’s firm
- Put the tin into the freezer and leave to harden whilst making the filling.
- Place the cashews and hazelnut milk into a food processor and process until combined.
- Add in the hazelnut butter, coconut oil and agave syrup and process until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the filling over the top of the base and return to the freezer for 1 hour to firm up.
- Gently warm the coconut oil and agave syrup together until melted.
- Stir in the cacoa powder until well combined.
- Pour over the filling and place back into the freezer to chill.
- Destone the dates and add into a food processor along with the cacoa powder.
- Evenly divide the mixture into 7/8 and roll into balls.
- Place the truffles on top of the cheesecake.
Note: I recommend taking this out of the freezer approx. 15 minutes before serving.