Valentine`s Pitaya and Raspberry Raw Vegan Cheesecakes
If you want to surprise your loved ones with this deliciously healthy and light dessert or just have a sweet tooth in general, this recipe will be a hit! Contrary to popular opinion, raw vegan cheesecakes are easy to make. It`s all about the advance prep and the right timing!
The dessert consists of two layers - the crust and the filling. There is a certain ratio for the ingredients but they are easily substituted so if you don`t have a particular nut or a sweetener - no problem! There is always something in your kitchen to switch the missing thing for something else.
The color is always defined by the berry or any other colorful element that you add to your cheesecake. I settled on the pitaya for its beautiful bright pink, almost fuchsia color. What can be better for St Valentine`s Day?
Pitaya vs. Dragon Fruit: Is There a Difference?
Please, don`t confuse the dragon fruit with pitaya.
Despite their similarities, the pitaya and the dragon fruit are actually different fruits. The pitaya is a member of the Stenocereus genus and grows on column-like cacti. Boasting a bright color and a refreshing, sweet, and acidic flavor, the pitaya has a rough outer skin and smooth, seeded inner flesh that can be eaten alone or blended into a dish.
The dragon fruit, on the other hand, is a member of the Hylocereus genus, a variety of night-blooming cactus. The dragon fruit is similar in size, flavor, and color to the pitaya but it`s white inside. Both are able to add amazing color and flavor to a recipe, making them a fan favorite in everything from breakfast smoothies to post-workout supplement shakes.
Anyways, for our cheesecake, we need the actual pitaya with its beautiful pink color. I normally use the frozen pitaya blend by Sambazon or you can use the fresh fruit.
For this special occasion, I chose Heart Cookie Cutter Set from amazon. I ordered two sets. I think it`s a cool mold to have in your kitchen. If you want to order it, here`s the link Heart Cookie Cutter Set but if you want to go with the traditional tart mold, this recipe measurments will also be good for 7 Inch Non-stick Springform Pan.
8-10 dates pitted
1,5 cups walnuts
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp of carob powder or coco powder
3 cups soaked cashews
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted, room temperature)
Juice from one lemon
3 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 cup of frozen pitaya cubes or 1 fresh pitaya
1 cup of raspberries
* Soak the cashews over night. If for some reasons, you didn`t have time, you can always boil them for 15 min in a 4-5 cups of water.
* For the crust, add all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add 1 tbsp of water and pulse again. The texture should be sticky but not wet. Remember that having a food processor at home is essential as sometimes you want some dishes like salsa, pesto sauce, cheesecakes crust be finely chopped not blended to the consistency of a smoothie. After you achieved a desired texture, carefully layer your mold with it at approximately 1/3 of an inch thick. If you are using the heart mold, I recommend placing the shape on a parchment paper. Place the mold in the freezer and let it sit there for 30 min while you`ll be working on your filling.
* For the filling, combine cashews, lemon juice, agave, coconut oil in the blender and process till it reaches the smooth texture. Your base is ready - and if you try it - it`s already delicious the way it is! Now you can go ahead and add color, in this case - pitaya. I actually used raspberries for the slightly less pink color to make layers. First, add raspberries and blend them in. Take your frozen crust out of the freezer. Fill couple of your heart shapes or your cheesecake mold (the first layer) with it. Now add pitaya to your filling and blend till your mix becomes brightly pink. Finish filling other hearts or layer the pitaya filling on top of your raspberry layer in your cheesecake mold.
* Put your cheesecake back into the freezer and let it sit there for 2-3 hours. You can leave it there till you need to serve your cheesecake. Just keep in mind that the cheesecake needs to be removed from the freezer and stay in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
* Before serving, decorate your cheesecake with berries and edible flowers.