This “cheesecake” comes straight out of the pages of Vanessa Barajas’s Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind. I had the pleasure of meeting Vanessa when she visited Houston for her CEWADM book tour. She was so friendly and cheerful, just as she sounds in her blog (of the same name: Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind). I have made a couple of her recipes before (the Pazooki and the Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites), so I knew that her book would be filled interesting and delicious treats!
This beautiful cookbook is filled with decadence like Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, Brown Sugar Bacon, and S’mores Pie. Vanessa seems to love chocolate as much as me, which leads me to believe we’d be great friends. It has incredibly creative recipes like Blackberry Swirl Goat Cheese Ice Cream, and staples I’ve made over and over again like the honey-sweetened Paleo chocolate. Her photography makes her food look luxurious, almost in a “too pretty to eat” sort of way. Oh, but you need to eat it. It’s not like you’d be able to resist anyway. Vanessa tells people to “bake the world a better place.” Which is oddly close to my mission for this little dessert company. Changing people’s minds about “better for you” desserts, one slice of “cheesecake” at a time!
You can find several recipes from Vanessa’s book on her blog, including this one for her Chocolate Dream Cheesecake.
- 2 heaping cups raw pecan pieces
- ¼ cup Grade B maple syrup
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked in water at least 4 hours or preferably overnight
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup Grade B maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup peeled and diced zucchini
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
- In a food processor, combine all of the crust ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed. Try not to eat too much of it, but a little is ok.
- Press the crust into a spring form pan. Vanessa uses an 8". I used a 6" pan and made the crust come all the way up the sides. Obviously, the smaller the pan, the thicker the cheesecake will be.
- Place the crust in the freezer while you work on the cheesecake.
- Clean your food processor.
- Drain the cashews and process in the food processor until smooth. It's ok if there seem to be a couple of chunks. We'll process again soon.
- Add the rest of your filling ingredients, starting with only one tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Process until smooth.
- Taste the filling. You should be able to slightly taste the lemon. If not, add a little more and process again. Taste test until it's just right.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the filling into the crust. Place back in freezer for at least four hours to set. Be sure your surface is flat, as a little tilt will leave your cheesecake slanted... like mine.
- Remove from freezer 30 minutes before slicing. Store in freezer up to a week.