When I was first diagnosed as being wheat, gluten and dairy-intolerant, the first thing that went through my mind was cheesecake. This isn’t an exaggeration. It is the pudding epitome of everything that someone on a free-from diet shouldn’t eat – cheese, and cake. And it is my favourite pudding in the world.
So as you can imagine, life became pretty hard for me from that point (in my mind, violins start playing at this point). For a while, I truly didn’t care about all the other foods that had been swiped off the menu without so much as a goodbye. My bread and butter – a cake made of cheese – had been lost to me. Since then, I have tried to ignore my cravings, but recently I have been feeling that something substantial has been missing from my life. Obviously it didn’t take long for me to work out what that was. I started scouring trusty websites for cheese(less) cakes but none of them sounded appealing enough. I’ll be honest; I don’t want to make a pudding out of tofu. Hey, give me soya cream-cheese on a cracker, but not in a cake. So yes, this ruled out essentially all the recipes out there.
Until this one, found here. I’ve adapted some of the ingredients and measurements, but the basics are all the same.
It’s more than just wheat, gluten and dairy-free. It’s also vegan, and there is no soya, eggs or grains involved either. This probably leaves you wondering what could possibly be left to make it from. Well, NUTS. A lot of them. Which doesn’t come cheap, but I promise you it’s worth it. Plus, depending on the size of your pan, you can easily reduce the mixture.
This creamy, zesty delight is a revelation. And what’s more, you can replace the lime with cocoa powder, or blueberries, or… well, whatever you like really, and you’ve got yourself faux cheesecake choices to last a lifetime!
You will need a spring-form or silicone cake tin (mine was 9 in), and a food processor or blender.
For the base:
- 4oog ground almonds
- 5 tablespoons agave nectar (or clear honey)
For the topping:
- 500g macadamia/ cashew nuts (or both)
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 tbsp agave nectar
- Juice of 6 limes
- Zest of 2-3 limes, depending on taste
- 130 ml water
Soak your macadamias/cashews in a bowl of water for around 15/20 minutes to get them nice and soft.
Blend the ground almonds and agave nectar in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the cake tin and set to the side.
NB If you want your crust more crumbly, throw a handful or two of whole almonds into the mix.
Blend all your nuts, agave nectar, lime juice, lime zest and water in the food processor, then add in the coconut oil. Keep going until the mixture is smooth – this may take some time!
Spoon the mixture on to the cheesecake base, and place in the freezer to set. This should only take around 1-2 hours.
Once set, remove from the freezer and top with lime zest to serve (it would go really well with some dark chocolate sauce, too). And if you’re not ready to eat it yet – pop it into the fridge to keep firm.
Now, to buy some cocoa powder…