Since Michael was making a rich salad for this potluck, I figured I should bring some dessert. I (correctly) guessed that we'd all be pretty full and not holding out for a multi-layered chocolate extravaganza, so I referred back to a raw 'cheesecake' slice recipe that I bookmarked on It Ain't Meat, Babe three years ago.
It's nothing you haven't seen before - dates, coconut and macadamias for a fudgy base, then sweetened cashews and lime juice for the 'cheesecake' topping. It's at the less strict end of raw cuisine - there's agave nectar, dessicated coconut, melted coconut oil and vanilla involved - but also large quantities of soaked and blended nuts, the cornerstone of raw desserts.
The base didn't quite meet my expectations. I did my ol' swap-soaked-dried-dates-for-fresh-ones trick and there was barely enough here to really bind together the dried coconut and macadamias. It was crumbly and missing the caramel colour and flavour I was anticipating.
I was much more pleased with the 'cheesecake' top. Though my limes were comically dry and useless and the topping thus lacked a bit of bite, the vanilla enhanced the flavour and the coconut oil did wonders for the texture, creating a dense and buttery texture that reminded me of white chocolate.
This slice stores just as well in the freezer as it does in the fridge. Either way, I'd recommend serving it as we did above, with a big bowl of cherries and strawberries for a refreshing end to an extended meal.
Creamy cashew-coconut slice
(slightly adapted from It Ain't Meat, Babe,
who cites Vegetarian Times)
1 1/2 cups raw macadamias
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup dried dates
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
6 tablespoons coconut oil, gently melted
1/4 cup agave nectar
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In three separate bowls, soak the macadamias, cashews and dates overnight.
Line a 22cm square tray with baking paper. Drain the macadamias and place them in a food processing, whizzing them until they resemble crumbs. Drain the dates, adding them and the dessicated coconut and blend further until they're well mixed and the dates start binding the crumbs together. Tip the mixture out into the baking tray and use the back of a spoon to press and smooth it out into an even layer.
Clean out the food processor to use for the second layer. Darin the cashews and drop them in, blending them as finely as you can. Add the remaining ingredients and blend very thoroughly, to obtain as smooth a mixture as you can. Pour it over the base layer, evening it out with the back of a spoon.
Freeze the slice for at least a couple of hours, then store it in the fridge. Slice it into squares to serve.
While this recipe is not truly, 100% raw it is definitely in the spirit of so many raw recipes, so I'm contributing it to Catherine's January round-up, I Am Vegetarian - Hear Me Raw!.