(Almost Raw & Vegan) Apple ‘n Honey Cheesecake

 

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Let’s talk about firsts. Not your first kiss. Or your first time. Nah, we don’t need to go there.

But for real, this might be my first holiday recipe posted before an actual holiday occurs. I mean unless you count the fact that I might have blogged some potato latkes in late 2012 which is technically before Hanukkah 2013, but naturally I’m talking about posting a recipe a week or two before a holiday so that someone else might actually be able to serve it on said holiday.

With that confession out of the way, here’s the next: I really might cry if you don’t even consider serving this at the end of your Rosh Hashanah meal (not that I’ll know, but still). And if you don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), “Welcome Fall and All Things Apples” sounds like a perfectly good reason to celebrate with this cake. Does it not?

If a cheesecake made of cashews is a “first” for you, let’s get a few things straight. I do eat dairy, but I’m still trying to keep it in moderation and keep my diet packed with wholesome, clean ingredients with a variety of nutritional benefits – cashews and coconut oil being good examples. And, ever since I made these vegan blueberry cheesecakes, I’ve been dying to experiment with other varieties. But what else? A cashew cheesecake on Rosh Hashanah is a perfectly kosher way to celebrate! For those that don’t mix meat and milk, this is a dream come true.

I’ve made this darling *three* times already. Once because the first attempt didn’t fly as well as I hoped – but good enough to warrant tweaking the recipe. The second time was the winner! And the third time was because I couldn’t fathom not serving it at a little girly gathering I hosted this weekend. A gathering at which not a single lady had any reason to eat dairy-free or inclination to try vegan – but a gathering at which everyone raved about this cheesecake.

Not that this is technically vegan. Remember the title? Almost raw and vegan? I’m no expert in raw, vegan diets, but I do know that honey doesn’t qualify. Personally, I’m not a vegan. I like honey, and it’s traditional to serve with apples to celebrate our sweet new year. But should the fancy strike you, you can keep this totally raw and vegan by using agave syrup, or perhaps coconut nectar, instead of honey.

So the only question that remains is, when are you making this for the first time?

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PS. If you want to make mini cheesecakes like I did, I highly recommend this nonstick mini cheesecake pan. Just like I’m glad I kept tweaking this recipe to get it right, I’m glad I gave this pan another shot. You see, I’ve owned it for a couple years and tried and tried again, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown away batches of traditional baked cheesecakes. No matter how low and slow I tried to bake them, they’d always fall and crack into ugly little messes – and get even uglier when I tried to push them out of the pan. It turns out I should have been making vegan, no-bake treats all along! I’ve also used it to make mini vegan chocolate mousse cakes and couldn’t get over how adorable and perfect they turned out :)

Amazingly perfect (looking AND tasting) vegan chocolate mousse cakes.
Recipe to come… someday!

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Dairy-Free Apple 'n Honey Cheesecake

A perfectly fall-inspired cheesecake that's delicious, easy, and made from wholesome, clean ingredients. It just happens to be dairy-free, too!

The amounts below make 1 6" cheesecake or 1 dozen mini cheesecakes. For a 9" spring form pan, double the crust and triple the filling.

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons honey*

Filling
1 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
1 cup dried apples, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
3 tablespoons soaking water from apples
1/4 cup honey*
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
big pinch of salt
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Topping
1 cup dried apples, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
2 tablespoons soaking water from the apples
2 tablespoons honey*

*Substitute agave syrup or coconut nectar for vegan option

Directions:

Crust
Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form, about 20 seconds. Add the dates and cinnamon and continue processing until everything is finely ground. Add honey and process again to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan. Rinse out the food processor .

Filling
Drain the cashews and add to the food processor. Drain the apples, reserving the water, and add the apples, along with 3 tablespoons of the water. Add honey, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process the mixture, until nearly smooth and creamy. This will take up to 5 minutes and you will need to stop a few times to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (The mixture may still be a bit grainy, as opposed to entirely smooth.) Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt and coconut oil and blend again until combined. Pour into the spring form pan over the crust and gently rap the pan on the counter top to help the filling settle in evenly. Cover and freeze overnight.

Transfer to the refrigerator 8-10 hours before serving.

Topping
Drain the apples, reserving the water, and add to food processor with 2 tablespoons reserved water and the honey. Process to combine, leaving the mixture a bit chunky. Spoon on top of the cheesecake or serve on the side.

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

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32 Responses to “(Almost Raw & Vegan) Apple ‘n Honey Cheesecake”

  1. 1

    Janae Wise @ Bring-Joy — September 11, 2012 @ 3:39 pm Reply

    These are soo pretty! Glad you stuck it out & tried a few, ’til you got it right. Sometimes the best recipes, I’ve found are the ones I can’t help but leave alone & keep tweeking.

  2. 2

    Beth @ Tasty Yummies — September 11, 2012 @ 3:40 pm Reply

    These look amazing Cara! I love creamy cashew based treats! Every holiday season I say I am going to put together some fun recipes beforehand so they are there for people, of course I never do this though – so kudos to you :)
    What type of pan do you use for the mini cheesecakes like in your photo?

    • 2.1

      Cara — September 11, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

      Great question – I meant to address it and forgot! Updated :)

    • 2.2

      Beth @ Tasty Yummies — September 12, 2012 @ 7:24 am

      Oooh I am sooo glad I asked, I didn’t even know a pan like that existed. My hubby is gonna kill me if I bring another kitchen gadget or supply home, but it’s too bad, that pan looks amazing, haha! Thanks Cara!

  3. 3

    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — September 11, 2012 @ 3:43 pm Reply

    I’ve never made a cheesecake with cashews, but this looks like a must! I love little bite size treats too! So easy for guests to sample more!

  4. 4

    Alethea — September 11, 2012 @ 3:46 pm Reply

    I cannot wait to try this! I love cashews AND dried apples so this is right up my alley!

    • 4.1

      Cara — September 11, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

      Can’t wait to hear your feedback then!

  5. 5

    BeverlyGHatch — September 11, 2012 @ 3:51 pm Reply

  6. 6

    Ricki — September 11, 2012 @ 4:25 pm Reply

    HOLY CANNOLI! Seriously incredible, Cara. Gotta try, gotta try!!

  7. 7

    Kate — September 11, 2012 @ 5:08 pm Reply

    I can testify that these were delicious! I ate 2. Maybe even 3. I hope you share the chocolate mousse cakes! I loved them just as much. ;-)

  8. 8

    Aggie — September 11, 2012 @ 8:19 pm Reply

    I wish I could pop one of these in my mouth tonight. I’ve never made anything like this, awesome recipe!

  9. 9

    Joanne — September 11, 2012 @ 9:24 pm Reply

    I’m so excited that you posted these!! I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah but I will CERTAINLY be making them nonetheless!

  10. 10

    Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa — September 12, 2012 @ 11:02 am Reply

    These look amazing Cara!! An awesome flavor combo and perfect for all the fall ingredients we getting up here in VT. Loving this idea and will definitely need to make some!

  11. 11

    Kate — September 12, 2012 @ 9:28 pm Reply

    Just from the title I was going to say this sounds like a perfect New Year’s treat!

  12. 12

    Deb — September 12, 2012 @ 10:35 pm Reply

    These look quite tasty! I am wondering if you have tried them with fresh apples at all? We have an orchard with a lot of fresh apples, so instead of rehydrating dehydrated ones, I’m wondering if we can simply go fresh?!

    • 12.1

      Cara — September 13, 2012 @ 8:22 am

      Hi Deb,
      Unfortunately fresh apples won’t work! That was my original plan, the first rendition of the recipe that failed. The problem is that the water content in fresh apples is too high, so by the time you add enough fresh apples to get the flavor, the mixture is too watery and never sets up properly. (It will freeze, but then when you move it to the refrigerator, it becomes too soft too quickly – you won’t be able to slice into pretty, firm pieces.) Another idea I was going to try if the dried apples didn’t work was to use grated fresh apples and squeeze them out before adding them to the food processor, but since the dried apples worked so well I didn’t need to go there. With all your fresh apples, have you ever though of drying your own, either in a dehydrator or on the lowest temperature in your oven?

  13. 13

    Laura — September 13, 2012 @ 9:40 am Reply

    Oh my goodness, YAY! I always want to bring something wonderful, vegan and gluten free to the holidays. My family meals are very traditional. I “sneak” in raw desserts, but could never think of an apple one. I LOVE cashew cheesecake, and haven’t had a real one in years. I’m sold!

    • 13.1

      Cara — September 13, 2012 @ 10:09 am

      If my (non-vegan) taste-testers are anything like yours, they’re gonna love it :)

  14. 14

    Alisa — September 13, 2012 @ 10:09 am Reply

    I swear, you’ve taken the whole dairy-free and gluten-free recipe creation thing by storm!

  15. 15

    Maggie — September 13, 2012 @ 1:22 pm Reply

    Oh my, when can I come to one of your girly parties? Pretty please! These are adorable. And please hurry with that mousse recipe! xo

  16. 16

    Kim-Cook It Allergy Free — September 13, 2012 @ 11:32 pm Reply

    These are stunning. I just love how beautiful they look. They sound absolutely amazing!! What a perfect fall treat! xo

  17. 17

    grace — September 14, 2012 @ 8:07 am Reply

    dairy free cheesecake–who’da thunk it? this sounds really tasty, cara!

  18. 18

    Alta — September 14, 2012 @ 10:03 pm Reply

    These are gorgeous and sound divine!

  19. 19

    Trudy Holtz — September 16, 2012 @ 8:32 am Reply

    Wow. This looks fantastic! I am dairy-free so this sounds like something I’m taking to Thanksgiving this year!

    I am working on my Thanksgiving posts and am struggling to get them posted before November, Kudos to getting your holiday recipe out early! And thanks for it!

  20. 20

    amber — September 21, 2012 @ 11:19 pm Reply

    holy apples and pretty dairy free cheesecake batman…these are AMAZING. I swoon over creative recipes like this. Just gorgeous. :-)
    Be Well,
    –Amber

  21. 21

    Karene Bell — December 6, 2012 @ 7:18 pm Reply

    Wow, love this recipe. Used the Thermomix and within mins it was ready to go in the freezer. Love your website also, so many nice recipes to try out.

    • 21.1

      Cara — December 6, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

      Glad you liked it, and thank you!

  22. 22

    Isa — December 20, 2012 @ 9:23 am Reply

    So why do I have to use dried apples when I put them in water again? Dried apples are a lot more expensive than normal apples :/

    • 22.1

      Cara — December 20, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      Hi Isa, I tried to make this recipe with fresh apples first, and it didn’t work; I found the water content to be too high. Please see my response to Deb above for more details.

    • 22.2

      Isa — December 20, 2012 @ 9:38 am

      Okay, thanks a lot! I will try this recipe today :)

  23. 23

    Kristiana — March 5, 2013 @ 1:42 pm Reply

    Awesome desert. I just went and found the pan so these will be a part of my future! I have never tried the creamed cashew before but I have seen it a number of times recently so it must be good. Thank you for putting together such and easy and elegant at the same time, recipe.

    • 23.1

      Cara — March 6, 2013 @ 8:31 am

      Hope you enjoy it, let me know how it goes!

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