We’ve had a glorious summer here in the UK ♥
This week, there’s been a change in the air. It’s cooling off, the rain’s returned and the evenings are drawing in.
But before we officially say goodbye to summer, I’m going to enjoy one last weekend of summer dishes, rounded off with a slice or two of this sunshine-filled Pina Colada ‘Cheesecake’. Cheesecake was my favourite childhood dessert, but I love this dairy-free version even more!
In this version, the dairy’s been replaced with delicious pineapple and coconut-flavoured cashew cream, gently sweetened with maple syrup. Instead of a biscuit base, we use crushed almonds and pecans for crunch, and dates for sweetness. The cake is then dressed with a layer of crushed pineapple and finished with a sprinkling of coconut flakes.
While cheesecakes aren’t usually considered to be a healthy option, this version is packed with goodness, including lots of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. Like regular cheesecake, it is pretty calorie-intensive, but you’ll find that even the thinnest of slices will leave you feel satiated. Once the cake has firmed up, I slice it then pop it back in the freezer. That way, we can pull out a slice whenever we fancy one.
This recipe first appeared in Issue 3 of the fab e-magazine Fresh Vegan. One of my lovely readers has already made the cheesecake and I was thrilled to hear how much her family enjoyed it. It’s one of my family’s all-time favourite desserts and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do ♥
Note: Recipe updated 9th July 2017 – this is the new and improved version that features in the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook.
This dessert is bursting with the colours and flavours of my two favourite summer ingredients. If I can’t be sitting on a Caribbean beach sipping Pina Coladas, then tucking into a slice of this scrumptious dessert is definitely the next best thing. It’s incredibly easy to make. You simply need to blend and freeze. No baking required!
Hands on time: 30 minutes Ready in: 3 hours
115g / ¾ cup almonds or pecans (or use a mix of the two)
50g / ½ cup desiccated coconut
170g / 1 cup soft, sticky dates (e.g. Medjool), pitted
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Filling & topping
280g / 2 cups raw cashews
340g / 2 cups fresh sweet pineapple, cubed
80ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
6 drops rum essence, or to taste (or substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
100g / ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
4-5 TBSP coconut chips
1 Soften the cashews by soaking them in freshly boiled water for 30 minutes, then rinse and drain.
2 Grease the sides of a 18-20cm (7-8 inch) loose-bottomed tin with coconut oil and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.
3 Place the almonds/pecans in a food processor and blitz into crumbs. Add the remaining crust ingredients and whiz to combine. Test the crumbs by pressing a small amount between your thumb and finger. If they stick together, they’re ready. Tip them into the prepared tin and press down firmly.
4 Pulse the pineapple in the food processor to crush it. Place in a sieve over a bowl and use the back of a spoon to press out as much juice from the pineapple as possible.
5 Place the cashews in the food processor and blitz into crumbs. Add the syrup, rum essence and 120ml / ½ cup pineapple juice from the drained pineapple. (If you don’t have sufficient juice, top it up with water). Process for a few minutes until the cashews are ground into a creamy mixture, pausing now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and continue processing until the mixture is completely smooth. Taste test for smoothness and sweetness. Add a touch more syrup, if desired.
6 Stir half of the crushed pineapple into the creamy cashew mixture.
7 Spoon the filling onto the crust and use a knife to smooth the top. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours, until it has firmed up. When ready to serve, top with the remaining crushed pineapple and a sprinkling of coconut chips.
8 Stored in an airtight container, this dessert will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator or for two months in the freezer. If frozen, allow 30 minutes to an hour to thaw before serving.
Do you have anything special planned for this last weekend of August? I’ve got lots of jobs to tackle this weekend… like my jungle of a garden & school uniform buying (as usual I’ve left the latter to the last minute!) Once the jobs are out the way, I’m looking forward to heading out on my bike in the beautiful English countryside.
Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend everyone! xx