One of my absolute favourite things to think about when looking forward to summertime is the abundance of fresh berries at local markets. When I was little, I would go strawberry picking with my family, and year after year, the most consistent remark made by every one of my family members was the endless amount of strawberries I popped into my mouth and how little actually made it into the basket. But hey, what’s a parent going to do when they see their 4-year-old enjoying fruit?!
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Grain-Free
Soak time: 1-2 hours or overnight
Prep time: 35 minutes
Freeze time: 6 hours or overnight
1 ½ cups raw almonds
½ cup pitted Medjool dates
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon water
1 ½ cups raw cashews
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
½ cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
Pinch of fine sea salt, or to taste
2 ½ cups hulled fresh strawberries or thawed frozen strawberries
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh sliced strawberries, for garnish
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of water overnight or for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours to soften. For a quick-soak method, soak the cashews in boiling water for 30-60 minutes. Drain and rinse before using.
- Grease a 7-inch (1.5 L) springform cake pan with coconut oil and then line the base with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit. You can use an 8- or 9- inch (2 or 2.5 L) springform pan, just note that the cake won’t have nearly as much height as the photographed cake. If you don’t have a springform pan, feel free to use a greased pie or cake pan – you’ll just need a bit more patience when removing the cake from the pan.
- Make the crust: In a food processor, process the almonds until a coarse meal forms. Add the dates, salt, and 1 teaspoon water and process until the mixture comes together. It should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If for some reason it’s dry or crumbly, add more water, a teaspoon at a time, and process again.
- Spoon the crust mixture into the prepared pan. Spread it out evenly along the base and then press down firmly with your hands until smooth and even.
- Make the filling: In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and salt. Blend on high until super smooth – you don’t want any grittiness at all. Using a spatula, spoon the filling onto the crust and smooth it out evenly.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and carefully transfer to a flat surface in the freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Make the strawberry-vanilla compote: If the strawberries are fresh, toss them into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped or smooth (your call). (Thawed frozen strawberries are usually soft enough to mash directly in the pot using a potato masher). Transfer the strawberries to a medium pot and set over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder until smooth. Stir this mixture into the strawberries until combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the compote, stirring every now and then, for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, until it has thickened up a bit. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If you don't want to make the compted, add fresh berries on top. It looks just as beautiful and saves a lot of time.
- Allow the frozen cheesecake to sit on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing.
- Serve each slice with fresh sliced strawberries and a generous spoonful of compote over top or swirled on the plate. This cake is best served cold, in a semi-frozen state, and it will soften greatly at room temperature. To freeze leftovers, wrap each frozen slice individually in plastic wrap or foil and store in an airtight container in the freezer for 4-6 weeks. I recommend freezing the compote separately in its own small freezer-safe container.
Tip: If your blender has a hard time blending dates, soak the pitted dates in boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes, until softened. Drain well.
--recipe inspired by Angela Liddon, "Oh She Glows Every Day"
--photo by Casey Krebs
--story by Emma Davy