Pumpkin Cheesecake, well, sort of
Molecular gastronomy. Mmmmm, sounds delicious. Okay, so it doesn't. However, the popularity of this "scientific playtime" with food can actually open the doors to increasing the nutritional value of food.
The modern reference of molecular gastronomy refers to a style of cuisine where chefs explore culinary possibilities by borrowing ideas from the science lab and combining them with ingredients from the food industry. Think things like kelp noodles. Kelp is not a noodle, but some sea vegetables do create a gelatin-like substance so they don't just dissolve in water. These properties can create a noodle. Kelp noodles are super healthy, filled with nutrients, interesting and a tastier way to eat kelp for most people. Thank you molecular gastronomy.
Coconut oil is also one of those ingredients that can make new things happen. Because it hardens at room temperature (at least in our climate!) it can be emulsified into things and then it does the thickening. And with a texture so creamy, satisfying and healthy too, you have a versatile ingredient.
You might decide to make this "pumpkin cheesecake" that in fact does not contain any pumpkin or any cheese. It is also vegan, magically made without dairy, eggs or refined sugar and you can eat if for breakfast. There is also not a filler in sight and no one will know how healthy it is because it is also one of the tastiest cakes around. In fact, if you make it for Thanksgiving, we recommend making two so you will still have one left for your guests after you "taste test" the first. Quality control is really important. Good job.
This recipe is brought to you by Afke Zonderland, raw food chef and creator of Okanagan Rawsome Crisps. Her delicious whole food cookie/crackers are handmade in small batches right in the Okanagan. Afke makes it her mission to change minds about food and she even has local coffee shops serving up slices of her cakes! Thank you for sharing your talents with us, Afke!
There are a few steps here, but it is well worth it. Prep ahead of time to make it a quick assembly.
Pumpkin Cashew Torte
Yield: 16 slices
1 1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup dates
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted in a warm oven or slowly in a pot over low heat
1-2 tbsp water to achieve a sticky consistency
large pinch of sea salt
Process almonds in your food processor leaving the nut ‘kernels’ the size of millet. Add cut up dates and process. Add coconut oil and process. Add water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is sticky when pressed between finger and thumb. You are not going to bake this crust so you don't want it wet, just moist enough to press it into a pan. Press into glass pie pan, 9" spring form or individual tart shells.
1 cup raw cashews - soaked 4 hours or more (discard soaking water and rinse)
1 cup coconut meat* (we have conveniently packaged Feeding Change young coconut meat in our freezer section that you can thaw for this or you can scrape out a young coconut)
2 cups carrot juice (freshly juiced carrot are best and full of enzymes and other goodness)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (use maple syrup to make it vegan)
3/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted in a warm oven or slowly in a pot over low heat (the oil is what makes the cake set so make sure to use it all)
1/3 cup cut up dates
1 tbsp natural vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger (powder or fresh)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp sea salt
In a high speed blender**, blend all the filling ingredients except the coconut oil until completely smooth. Add melted coconut oil and blend another minute. Pour into pie shell or individual tarts. Chill for two hours or more. Eat the left over filling as pudding… The cakes also freeze well. Enjoy!
*The creamy portion at the top of a can of coconut milk can be substituted for the coconut meat
**If you don't have a high powered blender you can blend the filling in two batches and make sure your dates are like a paste before blending