Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

Cranberry Chocolate Cheesecake & "Plant-based Desserts" - An Online Course at the Matthew Kenney Culinary

Cheesecake, Raw CheesecakeLina LiwagComment
    My final project - "Create Your Own Dessert"


My final project - "Create Your Own Dessert"

Above are other photos from my  course.

The course is for six days and you have two weeks to finish it.   It starts with simple recipes and techniques and then we l progressed to the more complicated ones a few days later.  What's good about it is that you can do it in your own time and in your own kitchen.  I work full time so I would prep after dinner and then put them together the next day.  Most times, I did cooking marathon in the weekends since I work better that way.  Overall, I found the colours, textures, ingredients, techniques, especially the plating very helpful and inspiring for me.  One day, I would love to have a small Cafe  where I can offer plant based desserts.  

On this course, you learn making plant based ice cream and sorbets, chocolate cakes and sauces, pana cotta and other components of desserts like crumbles, brittles, compotes, coulis and most of all, better versions of popular sweets. 


As mentioned in my previous post, I recently took an online course called "Plant-based Desserts" from the Matthew Kenney Culinary.  It's no longer Christmas, a time popular for sweets but  January was a birthday month for so many friends and family members including my husband and I.  I thought it would be just the perfect time to learn and make these desserts. My dad celebrated his 90th in the Philippines on January 15th and that's such a big BLESSING, I must say! 

Dessert-making was never a skill that I was good at since I never had any  experiences when I was younger...didn't do any baking then as I preferred making savoury dishes.  This has to be learned and practiced - hence this course.  My family enjoyed much of it and some samples also went to friends and co-workers.

 This dessert was what I submitted for my finals on this course.  It was shared many times to my friends and co-workers for recent birthdays and celebrations.  It was also part of what I served for dessert at a private dinner for Valentine's Day.

Cranberry Chocolate Cheesecake

1  cup almonds
6 dates, soaked for 10 mins.or until soft (save the liquid) 
3 Tbsp. cacao powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt

In a food processor, pulse the first two ingredients until coarsely chopped.  Add the cacao powder.  If the mixture is dry, add a bit of the soaking water from the dates. Pulse until mixture gets sticky.  Transfer into a 7" springform (if you want it thicker) or into an 8" round or square springform pan (for easy cutting later) and let it set in the fridge.

1 1/4 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
1/2 cup fresh cranberry juice (or blood orange juice)
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup. cacao butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence or powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt

In a high speed blender, place all ingredients except the cacao butter and blend until smooth.  On low speed. slowly add the cacao butter until fully incorporated.  Pour into crust and freeze until set, approximately six hours. Pop it out from the pan while still frozen and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Since this is a rich dessert, cut them into 1" thick and 4" long and serve.

Cranberry Sauce (Optional)
1/4 cup fresh cranberrries or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blood orange or regular orange juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of cardamom

Blend until smooth.  Strain through chinois or wire sieve.

Cacao nibs
Powdered dried berries or dried cranberries

On Valentine's Day, I served diner for 3 couples.  I played as their chef and made them a 5-course meal for their date night.  It was fun and they enjoyed a full plant based menu.  It was dark  and the quality of the photos weren't as great but I'm sharing them below:

Dessert was a combo of the chocolate cheesecake and coconut, cranberry and blood orange ice cream square (this is a nut free component)

Dessert was a combo of the chocolate cheesecake and coconut, cranberry and blood orange ice cream square (this is a nut free component)

It's been a busy week for me with so much prep just on my own.  I'm thankful that my hubby was in charge in making the house look presentable with his amazing cleaning skills and organization.  He even prepared the plates and utensils, washed the dishes and most of all, helped kept my sanity. He is such a great support and inspiration.  Also, this is not my full-time you may have seen in my bio already, I make mortgages for a living.  During the day, I review mortgage applications, credit bureau reports, appraisals  and manage my relationships with mortgage brokers.  I also help my co-workers achieve the monthly goals for our team.  One day, I hope to be serving food in my own cafe for a living.  

So next month, I'm enrolled online for the Advance or Level 2 program at the Matthew Kenney Culinary.  I'm hoping this will help prepare me for my future.  Wish me luck!  

I hope that whatever dreams you have, you too are pursuing them.  Age is not an issue as I just turned 55 last month!  Go for it, is what I can say.

And by the way, if you live in Toronto, it's super cold out there...keep warm!