Creamy Caramel Apple Cheesecake.. That is Actually Good For You

If you're anything like me, you can't get enough dessert. There is a reason that my first e-book is a program to ditch sugar! Traditional dessert is basically "gut lumber," food that you eat just to eat.. it doesn't actually do anything beneficial for you (quite the opposite, really: it makes you fat, ruins your skin, spikes your blood sugar, and makes you feel bad about yourself). The worst part? You crave it. You can't get enough of it. You always want more.

Luckily, there is a solution: raw desserts. Think nuts, seeds, fruit, and healthy fats. The best part? That list of negatives from "traditional" desserts does a complete flip; there are a number of positives:

  • Raw desserts are nutrient-dense, aka: very filling. You will not overeat!
  • Raw desserts are devoid of the two most common food allergies: dairy and gluten.
  • Raw desserts are packed with protein and healthy fats.
  • Raw desserts contain a number of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (these vary depending on the dessert).
  • Raw desserts are packed with flavor: you're consuming whole foods and tasting them exactly as they were meant to be tasted.
  • Raw desserts are super quick to make: once, my boyfriend and I completely forgot that we told friends we would bring a dessert, and whipped up a beautiful raw summer berry cheesecake in :15 minutes!

My new go-to when a dessert craving hits, when hosting friends or when attending a potluck is a twist on my raw cheesecake. I've made this countless ways: with berries in the summer, with pumpkin in the fall, and even with matcha when I crave a green tea latte! I made this caramel apple version for two Friendsgivings this year, and everyone (health-conscious or not) has been asking for the recipe ever since. So, without further ado (sorry for the wait, guys!):

Creamy Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Serves 6-8 // Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free

Ingredients:

(For the Cheesecake)

  • 1 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates, soaked and rinsed
  • 2 Organic Apples (use your favorite, I made this with different kinds both times, and each was delicious)
  • 2-2.5 Cups Raw Cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours (I've gotten away with 1 hour, and I've waited 12+ hours)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut (flakes and/or flesh)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Creamed Coconut (you can also use the solidified portion from coconut milk)
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Apple Cider (homemade or store-bought: if store-bought, check the label and ensure it doesn't have added sugar or weird preservatives)
  • 2-3 Pitted Dates (you can substitute 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup if preferred)
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • Few dashes of Cinnamon, to taste

(For the Caramel)

  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Raw Almond Butter

Method:

1. In a food processor, blend almonds and dates together to form a sticky "dough." If it's too crumbly, you can add extra dates or a little splash of water.
2. Press evenly into a pie dish, this is the crust, and place in freezer to set.

3. Toss the rest of the cheesecake ingredients: one of the apples (leave the skin on!), soaked cashews (start with 2 cups, add more if needed), coconut oil, coconut, creamed coconut, apple cider, lemon juice, dates, and vanilla into a high-speed blender. Blend until it is thick and super creamy (see photo below). If it's too thick and won't blend, add a splash more apple cider. If it's too thin and watery, add more of the soaked cashews. It should pour very slowly. Add cinnamon to taste (I did about three shakes), blend to combine.

This is an iphone photo ;)

This is an iphone photo ;)


4. Pour the filling onto the now chilled crust, and place back in the freezer to chill.
5. While the cheesecake sets, make your caramel: add equal parts coconut oil and maple syrup to a saucepan over medium-low heat (note: this is NOT raw, but! You can simply omit the heating it part and whisk to combine if you follow a completely raw diet. Heating the caramel thickens it and deepens the color, but it is still beautiful and delicious if you omit this. In fact, the main photo on my Recipes page is this same cheesecake with a completely raw caramel) and whisk constantly to combine. Add 1-2 Tablespoons almond butter to thicken and give a more brown color (and make it even more delicious). 
6. Slice the remaining apple into thin slices, dip in caramel, and arrange onto cheesecake.