For this recipe, I replaced the dairy based cream cheese with raw cashews (but don't worry, you won't miss the the cheese at all). Soaking the cashews might seem like a time consuming task, but it really is crucial! Soaking releases the cashews nutritional properties and also makes for a super creamy filling. If you skip this step you cheesecake will not be as rich and creamy. Coconut oil also gives this decadent dessert a rich and creamy cheese-like texture, not to mention an array of benefits. Coconut oil has just recently become more popular and is now known for its unique fat content. You may notice that coconut oil has rather a lot of saturated fats in it, but believe me they are the good kind! The unique properties in coconut oil actually allows it to help you loose those extra pounds. The wondrous oil also can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and heart decease! I included pomegranate in this recipe not only because of its delicious flavor, but also because of its color. Since it is close to Valentines day, artificial pink color is hovering around ever corner. Pomegranates actually give this cheesecake a unique and pretty purple color! This recipe is really good on its own, but I just had to take it over the top by adding some chocolate (it is Valentines day anyway). The shell not only looks good, but also provides a contrast of textures and flavor. The chocolate adds in some sweetness to balance out the tangy pomegranate. So, can the last cheesecake you ate claim all this?
Raw Pomegranate Cheesecake with a Chocolate Shell
For the filling:
2 cups raw cashews
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (hard)
1/3 cup + 2 tbs fresh pomegranate juice
2 tbs water
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 tsp sea salt
4-5 tbs maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tbs water or more if needed
For the chocolate shell:
1 large organic dark chocolate bar
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs lucuma powder (optional)
Soak your cashews in filtered water for about 3-5 hours, they should be extra soft. You can store these in the fridge after you drain them, if you are making the cake the next day.
Once you have soaked and drained your cashews, add them to a high speed blender (with a plunger attachment preferably, or just use a food processor) along with the rest of the filling ingredients. Blend all the ingredients together until they have become very very smooth and creamy. Now, transfer this mixture to a bowl and set aside.
For the crust, place the almond meal and sea salt in a large mixing bowl, then add in the maple syrup and 2 tbs water. Gently whisk to combine the ingredients. You want this mixture to just be wet enough to stick together, add in more water if needed.
To assemble, line 5-6 ramekin dishes or some mini cheesecake pans (one large one might work too but I have not tried it) with parchment paper. Now, divide the crust among all the dishes and press it down firmly until it sticks together. Next, pour some of the pomegranate filling into each dish and even it out with the back of a spoon. Place the cakes inside the freezer overnight (or at least 4 hours) to harden up.
For the chocolate sauce, melt 1 large organic dark chocolate bar in a medium pot along with 1 tbs coconut oil and 1 tbs lucuma powder (if using). Stir this mixture constantly as it melts to make sure it does not burn. Once the cakes have hardened, remove them from the parchment paper and pour on the hot chocolate sauce. The shell will harden almost instantly but to make sure, place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes. When the shell has hardened, garnish the cakes with mint and serve. Enjoy!
* If you happen to not like the favor of pomegranate, feel free to sub in some frozen strawberries or raspberries and just add in more water.