If you are a bona fied turophile (i.e., a connoisseur of cheese), then you are most likely into cheese in all forms, including in your dessert. I love cheese, and cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, but since I've been cutting back on dairy, I wanted to make a non-dairy (and refined sugar–free) option so I could have a healthier version of this delicious dessert.
Adapted from Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake by Chocolate-Covered Katie
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups raw unsalted cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons Lakanto (you can also substitute another sugar replacement of your choice or maple syrup to taste)
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pecans (you can also just double the almonds if you don't like pecans, but I like the two combined)
1/2 cups pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
First you'll need to soak your cashews in a bowl of water overnight. Drain the water the next day, rinse, and thoroughly dry cashews on a paper towel. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cashews, and put the remaining 1 1/2 cups into a food processor with the applesauce, vanilla extract, coconut oil, Lakanto (or other substitute), cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice.
Blend the ingredients together until smooth, and scoop out 1/2 of the blended mixture and put in a small bowl. Add the strawberries and the reserved 1/2 cup cashews to the remaining mixture in the food processor, and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a separate bowl, and rinse out the food processor.
To make the crust, add all the crust ingredients into the food processor and blend until the mixture sticks together. Lightly oil the inside of four ring molds. Evenly scoop the crust mixture into four ring molds and use a spatula to press the crusts into the bottom of the molds.
Spoon your plain filling evenly on top of each crust, and repeat with your strawberry filling. Chill overnight. Once set, slide a metal knife or spatula under the crust, and transfer to your serving plate. Pull the ring mold upwards, and your cheesecake should slide right out. Serve immediately. You can also use a regular pie pan and make one big dessert if you don't have ring molds, or little short mason jars—whatever you want!
I love the three layers that the crust and the two different fillings create—so pretty! You'll need to think ahead if you are making this for company since you have to soak the cashews overnight and then chill the cheesecakes overnight again, but I think the "oooh"s and "ahhhh"s once you bring them out will make up for the extra preparation. Enjoy! xo. Laura