Blackberry Lemon Swirl Cheesecake (vegan, GF, no bake)
Behold (and befriend) the bountiful blackberry! While blackberry has quite the reputation for taking over yards and landscaping.... this persistent, determined, sassy, tough plant offers a plentitude of juicy gems in return. This plant is incredibly prolific, but please be sure to pick away from busy roadways and areas which may be sprayed or treated.
This "cheesecake" has a cashew cream base, and a date-nut crust. Aside from time spent berry-pickin and cashew soakin', the prep time in the kitchen is surprisingly simple and minimal. While I was once a die-hard New York style cheesecake fan in my early baking days....I have actually come to love this plant-based version above and beyond it's dairy-rich counterpart. And it's MUCH easier to nail this recipe, than the hard-to-achieve-perfectly-creamy-un-cracked cheesecake.
This is a great moment to embrace the abundance of Blackberry, but feel free to substitute whatever berry is ripe for picking in your neck of the woods!
I use a combination of cacao butter and coconut oil here, for a subtle "white chocolate" undertone that is quite fabulous, but feel free to use all coconut oil instead. You can also swap out the pecans in the crust for a nut of your choosing. Hazelnut would be awesome here.
Be sure all your ingredients are room temp or even slightly warm. This will ensure the creamiest texture possible.
While it's hard to be patient, it is best to let this confection set up in the freezer overnight. Allow to thaw slightly before serving. The more it thaws, the softer it becomes. So I like to slice up while frozen, then allow the slices to soften for about 20 minutes or so.
This recipe makes one, 9-inch cheesecake.
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups pecans (pieces)
8-10 medjool dates
1 tbs coconut oil or vegan butter (I love Miyokos brand… organic and no funny business)
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste, I like it salty)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse until a crumbly yet dough like mixture forms (see photo).
Press into a 9-in springform pan (or other deep cake pan).
For the filling:
3 cups cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, then rinsed and strained
1 cup coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk), room temp
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temp
2 cups blackberries, room temp
1 tbs lemon zest and/or 1 tsp lemon extract
In a high speed blender, combine cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice.
Blend on high until ultra smooth and creamy.
Blend in the melted oils, on high, until well-combined.
Set aside one cup of this mixture. Into this cup, stir the lemon zest and/or lemon extract. This is your lemony swirl.
Blend the blackberries into the remaining mixture (in the blender) until creamy and ultra vibrant.
Pour the blackberry mixture into the crust/springform pan. Swirl in the lemony mixture, using a knife to make intricate designs (you can't go wrong here, just make sure not to overmix, so that the lemony swirl keeps its own flavor. It's worth it when you take a bite).
Place the cheesecake in the freezer overnight, or at least 4 hours. Slice and serve, topping with more blackberries...and edible flowers if you're feeling fancy.
Keep this cheesecake in the freezer in an airtight container for several months. As if it could last that long.....