Wow, what a big month for birthdays! I could actually count 15 January birthday celebrants among family members, relatives and friends. So I thought it was a good enough excuse to make a birthday cake. And before my favourite fruit goes out of season, might as well create a cake out of it - why not a raw cheesecake? I've written about how obsessed I've been with pomegranates...eating them almost everyday with my chia porridge. I've also made some drinks out of these wonderful seeds and if I had more time in my hands, maybe a mousse recipe as well. That should be a good project in the future.
My husband loves raw brownies; I love raw cheesecakes. I had to learn how to make them since I can't always pay top dollars to get them from my favourite raw food restaurants. I've made a few raw cheesecakes using berries before but recently I've been experimenting with pomegranates and have come up with this version with the help of Blendtec, Omega 8006 juicer and my old food processor.
Leading the birthday celebrants for January is my dad who lives in Northern Philippines. He turned 88 on the 15th. I thank God that he has reached this age and that he is much healthier now than in 2011. My brother took him to a naturopath in Manila after his health deteriorated. Part of his treatment was to take quality supplements regularly like medicinal mushrooms (cordyceps), omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and Multivitamins with added antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid and cathechins. He has since bounced back. I truly believe that his better health is attributed to this holistic approach that he has received.
Here’s a big shout out to the other celebrants: My 2 uncles Romy and Ernie in California, my nephew Marco, the very cute Quinlan and my good friend Tess who is celebrating a milestone year. To the 5 lovely ladies at work who may not want their names mentioned here, Happy Birthday again! However, special mention goes to the youngest of us all...the lovely Amanda, my dedicated hot yoga buddy (she wouldn’t mind me saying) with whom I share the same birthday. Yes, it's also my birthday and my husband's birthday. We're actually celebrating back to back today and tomorrow...a very convenient and a much cheaper affair for the whole family. And by the way, I hope you will be enjoying FreshnCrunchy's new site. A big thanks to our cousin Dex who has been the tech genius helping us.
Pomegranate and Tangerine Raw Cheesecake
Ingredients: (preferably organic)
For the crust:
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconuts (I used dehydrated raw coconuts)
6 Medjool dates, pitted (can also be increased up to 8)
For the filling:
3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight or at least 4 hours)
1 1/2 pomegranate juice (from 2 pomegranates)
1 cup tangerine juice (I used 2 organic Mineola tangerines)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. organic vanilla powder or alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
pomegranate seeds for toppings
- Juice the pomegranates and tangerines. Blend the pomegranate seeds if you don’t have a juicer and strain the pulp by using a nut bag, cheese cloth or a sieve. You can always squeeze the tangerines to get their juice.
- To make the crust, place the raw almonds, coconuts and dates in a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky and holds together. You can test by taking a small amount and roll or press it in your fingers. Add 2 more dates if you want your mixture more sticky. I find that 6 dates is just perfect for my taste. Transfer to a 9” spring-form pan or pie plate and press firmly. Use the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture evenly.
- To warm up and melt the coconut oil, place it in a small bowl. Boil some water in a small pan and put the bowl into the water. It will take about 3-mins. to do this process. If you live in a much warmer place, this may not even be necessary since your coconut oil is just ready to go .
- Place all the filling ingredients into a high speed blender. If you have a Vitamix, that would be perfect. I have a Blendtec and it works well. Blend until it becomes very smooth. Be patient as it may take a few pulses to get the mixture exceptionally smooth. If you happen to have a personal blender like a Nutribullet (I’ve used it before) it has to be done in two batches.
- Pour the mixture over the crust and place in the freezer until it becomes solid.
- To serve, remove from freezer at least 30-40 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water and cut into slices. Top with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
- Pomegranate juice comes out as pink in the juicer so the colour of this this cake is lilac. If you desire a brighter red cake, try adding 1/2 cup of beet juice. Mineola tangerine is like an orange so you can definitely use orange or clementines.
- For a variation, experiment with berries or you may also mix berries with a bit of cacao powder. I have made blueberries and cacao before and they can just be blended, no juicing necessary.
- This is a big cake, 9” in diameter and about 1 1/2” thick. If you want a smaller size, make half of the recipe. You can’t really go wrong with this cake...just taste and adjust before placing it in the freezer.