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
20 thoughts on “Pina Colada ‘Cheesecake’ (Dairy-free / Gluten-free / Vegan)”
This is SO stunning. I looooove raw cheesecakes and pineapple and coconut are two of my favourite flavours. Your pictures look so lovely!! I will have to try this!
I had a busy weekend with recipe-making/photographing/editing and two birthdays to attend…and it was a yucky, rainy weekend! I’m sure Spring will be here soon enough though….can’t wait for the New Zealand Summer again!
Thank you Koko for your sweet words ♥ Coconut & pineapple are one of my favourite combos too… though as we’re now entering Autumn/Fall here, I’ve moved onto another awesome combo – apple & cinnamon. I’m obsessed with that combo at the mo… I’ve been making apple & cinnamon pancakes, smoothies, raw cakes… It’s such a warm, comforting flavour!
This looks delicious Sharon…thank you for posting the recipe here.
And thanks to you Vicky for sharing the recipe on FB. I’m so pleased that it’s suitable for the SCD diet as well ♥
Here’s wishing you a fab weekend xx
This cheesecake looks so yummy – could tinned pineapple be used?? then it could be made all year round. This is going to have to go on my “to bake list” Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog today.
Hi Lorna! Yes, I’m sure tinned pineapple could be used instead. I think Del Monte sell crushed pineapple in cans, which would be perfect for the topping & could just be stirred through the ‘cheesecake’ instead of blending. You’d just need to drain off the excess juice first.
You’ll have to start a new “‘No bake’ list” for all these raw / no bake goodies that keep popping up on blogs 😀
This looks like a perfect way to farewell summer (and keep it alive a little longer too!). I have been enjoying the most incredibly sweet fresh pineapple lately – I’m very happy to buy some more to make this 😉
Also, thank you so much for your tahini advice! It seems I just need to look a bit harder and perhaps look beyond my local stores, which may be exceptions in not stocking it 🙂
Hi Kari! Yes, it was the perfect way to say farewell to summer. As soon as the last piece was gone, I swiftly moved onto my favourite Autumnal combos, like apple & cinnamon, plum & orange. Autumn is an amazing season for food isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up. I’ll be hopping over very soon xx
Do you reckon this would set without the coconut oil in the centre? I guess I could always just freeze it to start with hmmmmmm
Hi Sandy! I really don’t know whether it would set without the coconut oil. It might be worth testing a small amount of cashews first.
Coconut oil is really dividing people in the health community isn’t it? Some are raving about its health properties and see it as a ‘wonder food’, then others say it’s bad. It’s so confusing! I just use it occasionally in food preparation (mainly for these dessert treats), and the rest of the time I use it as face moisturiser 😀
I avoid all oils so it’s nothing personal against coconut oil for me lol
I have made up some face scrub using coconut oil and it works great! 🙂
This sounds and looks amazing, I love pineapple.
Hi Lauren! So glad you like the look of it! As well as this cheesecake, I love making pina colada smoothies. Pineapple & coconut is such a gorgeous flavour combo ♥
Wow, that looks good! I love pina coladas, and I love vegan cheesecake (weirdly, in my pre-vegan days, I always hated cheesecake!), so it sounds like a perfect combination.
Hey Caitlin, so lovely to hear from you ♥ Dairy and non dairy cheesecakes are pretty different (especially in texture) so I can totally understand why you might hate one & love the other!
BTW, thank you so much for the tip you left me on Vegan Miam about making vegan feta. I found your recipe and I can’t wait to give it a try. Just need to buy some white miso x
No problem Sharon, good luck with the feta, hope it turns out well for you!
I made this a couple days ago. It has a nice flavour and is a convincing cheesecake. It is too sweet though – didn’t need any maple in the base and I would reduce how much I add to the cheesecake if I made it again. I also found it extremely rich which I suspect is the huge amount of coconut oil. Would definitely halve that if I made it again. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Amanda. Thanks for stopping by to post your feedback. It’s much appreciated. After reading it, I suddenly realised that the recipe on my blog hadn’t been updated to reflect the changes we made during the recipe testing stage for my cookbook. We tweaked the recipe to simplify the steps, plus we halved the amount of maple syrup in the cheesecake (this was achieved by using pineapple juice instead of lemon). We also reduced the amount of syrup in the base. I’ve now updated the recipe on this page to match the one that’s in the book. Hopefully you’ll find this one much less sweet!
These cashew ‘cheesecakes’ are rich and filling, so we keep the slices modestly sized. This one should easily provide 12 servings.
Hello, I tried this recipe and loved it, but I want to make for a friend that has tree-nut allergies Can I sub out cashews for something other than a tree nut? She did say almonds were somewhat safe even though they are a tree nut. Thanks in advance!
Hey Susan. I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed this plant-based ‘Pina Colada Cheesecake’! And it’s so thoughtful of you to consider making it for your friend. I’m sorry to hear that she has tree nut allergies; and unfortunately though I’ve been researching it, I can’t find a suitable replacement for the cashews in this particular recipe. Macademia nuts are often cited as a good replacement as they blend smooth and creamy, however they are another tree nut. I haven’t personally had success blending almonds sufficiently smooth and creamy for this type of dessert and since they are another tree nut, I wouldn’t advise these for your friend. I’m so sorry that, on this occasion, I can’t be more help! Plant-based cheesecakes that use coconut milk or vegan coconut-based cream cheeses could be more suitable, so it would definitely be checking these out. Best wishes, Sharon xx