In celebration of The Naked Diet, hitting stores nationwide yesterday, I made a rather epic cheesecake (healthy of course) to signify this milestone.
It is mad that the book was finished nearly a year ago. To have seen the transition from an abstract idea to print is an incredible thing. I am still humbled to have worked with Quadrille’s creative team and my superstar editor on it. They are the ones that ran with my vision for the book and helped make it real, so I am serving up a slice of this for them (wherever they are)
This cheesecake is one I have been meaning to make for ages. I have long been a fan of saffron in sweet dishes but have yet to try anything quite so adventurous as including it into a dairy free cheesecake. In case you are wondering how this creamy, indulgent, statuesque cake is without cream or yoghurt, I will let you in on a little secret. The texture is created by blending a mixture of coconut milk, soaked cashew nuts, lemon juice and honey. It takes on a silkiness like whipped cream, but without the cream. It is rather delicious and a nice alternative if you are trying to cut back on the dairy.
I am aware that the dish does call for a rather abundant amount of nuts, but this is a celebration cake, so it is certainly worth the splurge. If you can’t find powdered saffron, you can also use 1 gram of saffron stamens. They can be bought in most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you can leave it out.
Raw Frozen Saffron and Honey Cheesecake Recipe
For anyone in a rush, you can cut the soaking tim of the cashews in the filling down by soaking them in just boiled water. They will only need an hour. If however you aren’t using a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, you will need to soak the cashews longer.
For the Crust
1 cup medjool dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained)
1 cup whole almonds
a pinch of sea salt
For the Filling
150g/ 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained (NOTE: If short on time, pour boiling hot water over the cashews, soak for 1 hour, then drain and blend as instructed!)
juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon of zest
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
125ml/ 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, plus extra
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon powdered saffron
For the Topping
125ml thick coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons honey
a handful of fresh strawberries, chopped
Add the nuts to a food processor, with a pinch of salt and blend until they reach a crumb consistency, then add the dates to a food processor and blend until the mixture starts to clump and forms into a ball. It should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a few more dates through the spout while processing. If too wet, add more almond.
Line a springform cake tin with cling film, leaving an overlap on the sides. This will help with removing the cheesecake from the tin.
Next scoop in the prepared crust and press it into the tin with your fingers. To pack it down, use the back of a spoon to press it down so it is smooth and flat. Then place it in freezer to firm up whilst you make the filling.
To make the filling, add all the ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth. If you can, you want to use the thicker coconut milk at the top of the tin rather than the more liquid coconut water below. Blend at a high speed until all the ingredients come together and look smooth and silky.
Taste and adjust sweetness or a little more lemon zest if needed. Pour the filling into the cake tin, over the crust. Tap the sides a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze the cheesecake until it is hard – about 6-8 hours.
Once the filling is set, take the cake out of the tin by lifting the clingfilm. Place the cheesecake in the fridge to thaw for an hour so it is easy to slice, then serve. Any leftover cheesecake should be kept, covered in the freezer. It will keep for 1-2 weeks.
Make the topping for the cheesecake when ready to serve by mixing the coconut milk, melted coconut oil and honey together. refrigerate to harden for half and hour then top the cheesecake. Finally scatter over the strawberries