This recipe is republished from Dani Venn’s blog, (which we wholeheartedly recommend!)
Over the years I’ve created many versions of baklava. Some, I’m sure, would make a purist shudder. The base of this raw cheesecake is made from the stars of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine; pistachios, walnuts, dates, cinnamon and honey. These form a crunchy yet chewy element, similar to the pastry of baklava. The filling of the cake is made from cashew nuts, lemon juice and coconut. This is where it goes askew, traditionally speaking, but slivers of orange zest and fragrant rosewater are added to remind us of the dessert’s heritage. Some traditions can be meddled with.
- 80g pistachios
- 80g walnuts
- 1 cup medjool dates (about 20)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 350g cashews, soaked overnight or for an hour in boiling water
- 1 cup thickened coconut cream (see tips)
- 1/3 cup softened coconut oil
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 2 oranges, zest only
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- Extra nuts, dried rose petals and orange zest for garnish
Blend and arrange the base
Process nuts in food processor until roughly chopped – you don’t want them being too fine. Add dates to food processor or blender and process till a paste forms. Add nuts, cinnamon and honey and pulse until just combined. Line a 20-25cm loose based cheesecake pan with baking paper. Take base mixture and pour into the base of the pan and press out with your fingers to form a smooth, even base.
Blend the cheesecake
Rinse out food processor or blender, then add in soaked cashews, coconut oil and cream, honey, orange zest and rosewater and blend on high, scraping down sides as needed, until an extra smooth consistency is achieved. This might take some time depending on how high-powered your food processor or blender is.
Set in fridge
Pour filling onto base and set in the fridge for at least four hours, but preferably overnight. Garnish with nuts, petals and zest to make it look pretty. Remove from pan to serve. Keep cake chilled.
Keep coconut cream in fridge overnight and use top thick layer to add to your filling, alternatively place in the freezer for an hour or so if short of time. Use thick part only, not runny watery part of coconut cream.