Raw Banana ‘Cheese’ Cake

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I get the raw thing. I feel great when I eat raw food.  I encourage my kids to eat as many raw snacks as possible, raw fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, coleslaw and salads, they are all as unrefined and unprocessed as possible and bursting with fresh nutrition.  But I like cooking.  I enjoy the creative process of steaming and baking and roasting and simmering, and I especially like the way it warms up my freezing kitchen and belly at this time of year. Raw food compliments our mostly cooked meals in this house.  I believe there is evidence to suggest that many foods release nutrients differently in raw and cooked states and so it is better to have combination of both, but realistically many of us, myself included, eat raw snacks and sides to accompany our mostly cooked diet.  Maybe we should be more adventurous with how to eat raw.

So this maybe isn’t the healthiest food in the world, it has a high (good) fat and (natural) sugar content, but it’s mostly raw, and unprocessed and contains just a few natural ingredients, so theres loads of fibre and protein and micronutrients in there too.  As desserts go, it’s fairly virtuous.  Indeed, compared to most lunches, it’s nutritionally superior!

What I liked most about this ‘cheese’ cake though is the simplicity; with a decent food processor and blender it’s ready in a few minutes and then just needs time to chill (like we all do)

For the base:

  • 1 cup / 120g of mixed nuts – I used peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts (£2.40)
  • 1/2 a cup of dates – ideally chopped before they go in the processor (66p)

For the topping:

  • 1.5 cups / 180g of cashew nuts – soaked (£3.60)
  • 1 ripe banana (30p)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup (£1.03)
  • 1/4 cup of virgin coconut oil – heated until liquid (95p)
  • 1-4 tbsp of water
  • a few dark chocolate chips or grated chocolate (20p)

You’ll need an 8 inch round loose based tin.  You can experiment with other shapes and sizes, but if you want the layers to look like mine, that’s the size I used.  The loose base is not optional, it fairly essential.

For the base, process the mixed nuts and dates until they start to clump together and form a crumbly dough like consistency.

20160201-084410.jpgTip the date and nut base into the tin and press down with the back of a spoon, chill in the fridge while you get on with the next layer.

20160201-084432.jpgFor the ‘cheese’ layer process all the ingredients, except the dark chocolate chips, in a blender.  This may take some time and you will need to keep scraping down the sides ad pulsing the blender, be patient.

20160201-084449.jpgYou will need to add a few tablespoons of water to achieve a smooth consistency, but not too much or the ‘cheese’ cake will not set.  Eventually it will form a smooth, thick cream cheesy consistency.  Pour this onto the nutty base and smooth out either with a palette knife or by shaking it to the edges of the tin.  Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips or grated chocolate and then return it to the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

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Made for a friend; who’s brilliant adherence to a very restrictive healing diet deserves a little treat, that won’t completely mess up all her hard work.

Once the top is firm to touch, you can push the loose bottom out and the ‘cheese’ cake should slide out perfectly and hold its shape.  It’ll need to be kept in the fridge though if there are any leftovers, as it does get a bit squidgy at room temperature.

I’ve made this before, and substituted the banana for 100g of fresh or frozen mango and some of the water for a couple of tablespoons of lime juice.  It’s much more zingy and the tropical flavours compliment the coconut perfectly… and it’s a beautiful creamy pale orange colour.

Using supermarket organic prices, this cheesecake works out as quite an expensive treat at £9.14!! However, it is a very rich and dense pudding, both texturally and nutritionally and slices need only be small.  I would never dream of shopping in the supermarket especially for ingredients to make something like this, wholesale shopping and bulk buying of whole food ingredients makes this luxurious organic dessert much more affordable at probably nearer half the price.  Click here to read about how I shop and make organic eating affordable on a low budget.

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