dairy-free blueberry yogurt cheezecake
I was encouraging a friend recently to embrace the unknowns in the kitchen–to see cooking/baking not as an intimidating battle for perfection, but as a meditative practice based on internal conviction and with no expectation of an end result. Sure, that pie or pavlova might turn out looking like a pile of poo, but chances are that even if the end result is not what you were hoping for, the simple act of attempt will only open doors to future culinary triumphs (or at the very least make you realize with absolution that you will never make another crepe cake ever again). Behind every #fail, there is always a glimmer of truth, and it is not until we have the courage to fail that we realize it is not something to be ashamed of, but rather, a means of self-discovery, and a lesson in determination and resilience.
Make more mistakes! Make more messes! Learn from them! Make this no-bake cheezecake! It is Springy and zippy and so good for breakfast and comes together quite simply (no oven required). YOU GOT DIS. No matter what.
For the crust:
• 2 cups walnuts, toasted (see NOTES)
• 10-12 large fresh medjool dates (the real juicy ones)
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp kosher/sea salt
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling:
• 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in filtered water in the fridge for 8-24 hours
• 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed with juices saved (see NOTES)
• 1 large lemon, juiced
• 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (I love this brand)
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin, like this (see NOTES)
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• pinch of kosher/sea salt
• 1 tbsp beet powder, for added color and flavor (optional, see notes)
• 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
• More non-dairy yogurt, fresh berries, coconut flakes, and bee pollen
Great a 9" springform pan well, and set aside. OR, grease a standard 9" cake pan then line it with a piece of parchment. Set aside.
Make the crust: In a food processor, blitz the toasted walnuts until they form the texture of crumbly, pebbly sand. Add the remaining ingredients (10 dates to start), and pulse into mixture comes together to form a dough, and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers. Add the remaining 2 dates as needed if dough feels too dry.
With wet hands to prevent sticking, pat the crust into the bottom of your prepared pan, pressing down very firmly to ensure crust is even and well-packed. Use the bottom of a smooth drinking glass to help pack it down more if you need. Freeze while you make the filling.
Make the filling: Drain the cashews, and add them to a high-speed blender (or clean food processor), along with the thawed blueberries and their juices, lemon juice, yogurt, honey, gelatin, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt. Begin to blend on medium-high speed until cashews are broken down and mixture starts to become smooth. Reduce blender speed to medium low, and while it's running, slowly pour in the melted coconut oil until it's fully incorporated and emulsified, stopping to scrap down the sides of the blender/food processor container as needed.
Pour filling over the chilled crust, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Tap the bottom of the pan gently against the counter to reduce air bubbles and smooth further. Refrigerate cheezecake at least 2-3 hours, or until filly is fully firm and set. Decorate with additional non-dairy yogurt, fresh berries, coconut flakes, bee pollen, or whatever pretty edible things suit your fancy. Look at you, conquering your fears!
Toasting walnuts is entirely optional, but does add a lovely extra nuttiness to the crust. To toast walnuts, spread them on a large baking sheet and toast them in a 375° oven for 5-10 minutes, watching them closely so they don't burn.
I am a loyal fan of Trader Joe's frozen wild blueberries and think they give the best color and flavor here, but you do you (a.k.a. buy whatever).
The gelatin is optional here, but allows for the filling to set in the fridge instead of the freezer. If you leave it out, freeze the filling for at least 2 hours to allow it to set fully, then allow it to thaw at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.