Raw Vegan Kiwi Lemon Cheesecake Bites

Squatting in the garden, hands full of dirt, watching worms twist and spiders skitter off towards the violets, I’m reminded that life is messy and full of unknowns. The constants in life are that there are no constants. The energy I plug into this garden may not be repaid to me. The love I pour out into the world may never be felt. You think you know the world, and the world chuckles and gives you Christmas in July.

It’s been good for me to roll around in the dirt, to work up a sweat tilling up roots, to see the thick white mats of fungi growing beneath the topsoil. I like reminders that I am part of the cycle of life. I turn earth over beneath my rake. I plant seeds, affirming my own willingness to continue existing. Pressing little divots into the earth, slipping a seed into each one, I whisper prayers for days filled with the sensuality and fever of ripe tomatoes.

This is all to say, I believe in the therapeutic goodness of gardening. How it teaches us to enjoy the mess born of hard work, constancy and study. Three things I could use more of in my life.

These kiwi lemon cheesecake bites are a study in messiness (my forte). Like gardening, they've taught me to embrace imperfection. As this blog grows (it's in it's fourth year!) I myself grow more particular. The part of me that says share it all, messiness be damned! is often silenced by the part of me that says but you could do so much better than that! 

As an exercise in sanity, I'm pushing myself to share more recipes born out of my every day life. Like last weeks yellow coconut curry red lentil soup, my soul-healing miso and these adorably imperfect raw vegan kiwi lemon cheesecakes. They're a true reflection of the kind of every day sweets I make for myself that (woefully) don't often make it to the blog.

And hey, you know what happens when you embrace imperfection in your work? You get more flexible about embracing imperfection in yourself! I'm not exactly known as a clean freak or perfectionist or anything. Even so *brushes buckwheat flour off of nose* quieting the self-criticism frees up a lot of space in the ol' noggin *tosses unwashed hair and flounces away*

My kiwi lemon cheesecake bites are a lot like mini ice cream cakes, with a hazelnut date crust and a lusciously smooth layer of cashew coconut cream — made sweet-tart with kiwi, lemon and maple syrup.

I eat them year round, but they're particularly wonderful in the warmer months. I'm already dreaming of making them into popsicles! Although I might make tiny popsicles, as the cashew coconut cream is so decadent!

I decided not to go overboard with making these look overly stylized or pretty, simply because that’s not the best way to eat them. The BEST way to eat them as soon as they're set, shared with a good friend over great conversation, leaving crumbs and parchment liners in your wake.

All you need is: cashews, hazelnuts, coconut oil, dates, full fat coconut cream, maple syrup, kiwi, lemon and some vanilla. That's 9 ingredients! They come together in a snap. So you can get to noshing faster! Now that’s my favorite kind of treat!

Note: Don't be deterred by the total time this recipe takes. It only takes about 10 minutes of active prep-time. The rest of it is just waiting around for the cheesecakes to set. You'll also want to take note that you need to soak your cashews overnight (8 hours). But if you're in a rush you can soak your cashews in hot water for 30 - 60 minutes to soften them. You'll need a very high powered blender to get the cashew cream totally smooth via this method. 

 

Raw Vegan Kiwi Lemon Cheesecakes

Created by Renee on March 22, 2017

NOTE: if you’re pressed on time, you can skip soaking the cashews overnight by soaking them in boiling hot water for 30-60 minutes. The longer the soak-time in hot-water, the softer they’ll be. NOTE #2: prep time doesn’t include the time it takes to soak cashews.

  • Prep Time: 1h 10m
  • Yield: 24 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients

Hazelnut Date Crusts

  • 9 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Kiwi Lemon Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chilled full fat coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • zest 1/2 lemon
  • 3 kiwis

Instructions

Hazelnut Date Crust

  1. If your dates are very dry, soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes and drain before use.
  2. To the bowl of a high powered blender, add the pitted dates and hazelnuts. Blend until you have a coarse dough. Add the coconut oil and blend again for about 5 seconds, until the dough has come together but there is still some texture to the nuts. You should be able to pinch the dough between your fingers and it will mould and stick together.
  3. Line two mini muffin pans with mini parchment paper liners. Spoon 1/2 tablespoons of dough into each liner, then press them into the bottoms of the tin until flat.

Kiwi Lemon Cheesecake Filling

  1. Rinse out the blender before making the filling.
  2. To the bowl of your high powered blender, add the soaked cashews, melted coconut oil, coconut cream, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Peel the kiwis and discard the peels. Add the kiwi fruit to the blender. Blend the cheesecake filling for 1 minute. You want it completely, lusciously smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness as you like.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling over each crust and smooth out the tops. 
  4. To set, freeze the little cheesecakes for 1 hour up to overnight. If hard frozen let thaw for 5 minutes before biting in. Enjoy!