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Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon is the perfect summer flavor.  Lemon is a bright and refreshing flavor and pairs well with many other fruits too -- Lemon raspberry, lemon blueberry, lemon strawberry, lemon lime. I crave anything lemon, lemon bars, lemon pound cake, lemonade, a lemon chill, lemon sorbet, ten thousand lemon cookies, and one of my favorite pastime foods, lemon cheesecake.....you get my point lemon flavored dessert anything is downright amazing.

My husband requests lemon cheesecake every year for his birthday, and I've been making slight variations for the last decade. I can even remember the last time I made regular normal dairy gluteny lemon cheesecake 8ish years ago. It was in our small apartment kitchen shortly after our daughter was born. I was nursing so I allowed myself all those extra amazing calories everyone told me I could consume. Since we're pretty crazy over lemon flavors, we ate every last crumb I'm sure in record time. I do think it's pretty funny when we reminisce over the foods we ate, or could eat, in our 20's before celiacs and dairy were issues.

Since then, the recipe has had a complete overhaul, but boy, even lemon cheesecake, minus the dairy, gluten, and refined sweeteners gets me so dance-around-the-house excited. Excited because it's still a delicious treat and it doesn't make me feel like junk and my friends, that is something to celebrate. 

I've played around with different crusts and this one is a favorite. It's super simple with only five ingredients, it's one less nut you have to soak too.  The rich and creamy filling for this cheesecake is made with raw cashews and raw macadamias. They are both mild flavored nuts perfectly delicious for vegan or dairy free recipes. 

I used lemon oil, which is a concentrated form of lemon zest, in this recipe to get a very strong lemon flavor. You can buy lemon oil like I used from Sur la Table or use the zest of about 8 lemons. The lemon oil will save you some time and may help you avoid carpal tunnel from zesting so many lemons! 

If you love lemon, you'll love this recipe.


Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

16 servings

Crust
1 1/2 cups raw almond flour
1/2 cup dates, pitted (about 6 dates)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 T coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt

Filling
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1/2 cup coconut cream
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cold-pressed lemon oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons water


Instructions

Crust
Combine almond flour and pitted dates in a food processor. Add vanilla, coconut oil and salt and pulse a few more times. It should be have a nice and sticky consistency, if it's still too dry add another pitted date.

If you have a mini springform muffin tin, press the crust evenly in the bottom with a spoon or your fingers. The springform muffin tin makes it easy to remove the cheescakes from the pan. If you use a muffin pan, you can slide a knife around the edges to get them out. (The number of mini cheesecakes may vary due to the larger size of a muffin pan.) You can also make one big cheesecake with this recipe as well.

Filling
Soak Cashews and macadamia nuts in a bowl of water overnight to soften. If you need this a pinch you can soak them in warm water for an hour or two. 

Drain and rinse your cashews and macadamias, and add them to a high powered blender along with the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. If it's to thick to blend easily in the blender add another tablespoon of water.  Pour the filling over your crusts. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours to for it to set. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving if pulling straight out of the freezer. 

Garnish with your favorite fruit or even candied lemons.

Quick tip: Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top of your cheesecake to keep it from forming ice crystals.


If you are looking for more great gluten free recipes check out these recipes from my fellow bloggers too. 

Three-Bite Almond Flour Cookies -  Good For you Gluten Free
Dye Free Coconut Rainbow Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan) - Casey the College Celiac
Easy Single Serving Paleo Lemon Almond Cake - Eat Your Way Clean
Gluten Free Classic Cheesecake with Almond Crust - The Heritage Cook
Paleo Vegan Muffin Tops - MI Gluten Free Gal

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