My very favorite thing about making raw cheesecakes is that you can easily customize them and play around with different flavors. Since I’m an absolute nut for blood oranges, I decided I had to use them to make some tasty raw desserts! I also love that these require no baking; they actually get put into the freezer to set.
By the end, mine weren’t fully raw because I decided to caramelize the blood orange slices and add them to the top, along with a little leftover juice which I swirled into a few of the bites. If you want them fully raw, you could just top them with a raw blood orange slice so you still get that extra punch of flavor. I definitely prefer the caramelized way though.
Before getting started, you will need a good blender (I use this Vitamix blender) or a good food processor to get these nice and creamy. I also use silicone baking cups to make my cheesecake bites because it makes it so much easier to clean up and eat, plus those little ridges look so cute (I would highly recommend buying these — they are a lifesaver and are super affordable). If you don’t have these, you can simply use a muffin tin and use a butter knife to pop them out once they are done in the freezer.
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 1 cup roughly chopped pitted dates (packed)
- 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight, or for 4-6 hours)
- 3-4 blood oranges
- 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice (I juiced and strained mine; 2 oranges were plenty here)
- 1 tsp blood orange zest
- 1-2 extra blood oranges on the side for the topping
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate juice (1 pomegranate easily provided this)
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (1 pomegranate did the job. You can add more if you want extra crunch)
- Note: If you want to buy your own pomegranate seeds and juice, that would also work, but I used a fresh pomegranate.
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk (I used a can from Trader Joe’s, full fat, but I’ve also found that if you find a really creamy nut milk, it can also work well)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (you could also substitute agave or even honey if you aren’t strictly vegan)
- To PREPARE: Add raw cashews to a bowl and cover them with cold filtered water. Place in the fridge and allow them to soak overnight, or for 4-6 hours.
- For the CRUST: About an hour before your cashews are done soaking, start on your crust. (Or, you can do it all at once, but I find it saves me time to make my crusts first, clean out my blender and then start on the filling).
- To make the crust, add the raw almonds, raw pecans and pitted dates to your blender or food processor and blitz until they are in small pieces and form a bit of doughy consistency. You will be able to tell by picking up a bit of the mixture and seeing if you can pack it, sort of like with snow!
- If you are using a muffin pan, lightly grease the bottom with coconut oil. If you are using silicone baking cups, then you are good to go and don’t need to grease anything.
- Spoon the crust mixture into your muffin pan or molds, packing it tightly with your fingers.
- Once your crusts are packed, set them in the freezer and start on the filling.
- For the FILLING: Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and have an extra bowl, measuring cup or something similar on hand for separating the mixture into two once blended.
- Add the raw cashews, fresh lemon juice, melted coconut oil, coconut milk and maple syrup to your blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth.
- Pour half of the mixture into a separate container and set aside.
- In the blender, add the 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture onto your crusts and set back in the freezer. You could also sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds here before sticking them in the freezer if you’d like.
- Add the remaining filling into your blender along with the 1/4 cup of blood orange juice and the blood orange zest. Blend until smooth. Remove your cheesecakes from the freezer and pour the blood orange mixture on the top.
- For the TOPPINGS: You can choose your own adventure! Toppings definitely help with the flavor here, so I would recommend including them, and they also make your cheesecakes look really pretty. Be sure to add the toppings while the filling is still soft.
- If you want caramelized blood oranges: Simply heat a little coconut oil in a pan and add some orange slices and maple syrup. I added about 4-5 slices of orange, 1 tbsp of maple syrup, and maybe 1 tsp of coconut oil. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. You’ll want to remove the oranges once they get soft and sticky. I also like to spoon some of the juice into the filling for some added flavor.
- If you want to use raw blood oranges, simply slice them in whatever way you like and add them to the top of your cheesecakes.
- Raw pomegranate seeds are so good when added as a topping. They add such a nice texture!
- FREEZE the cheesecakes (toppings or no toppings) for about 3 hours so they can completely set.
- To SERVE, remove from freezer, and let them sit for 5-10 minutes to soften up a little bit.