February 08, 2012

Raw Beet Cheesecake for Two


On Monday, I shared a recipe for beet pasta and I told you that I had a Valentine's dessert with beets coming up soon.  Well, I'm happy to say that you don't have to wait any longer!

I'm so excited to finally share this recipe that I made almost a month ago.  I came up with the idea when Cara of Fork and Beans announced a Valentine's Bake-Off Contest.


The rules for the contest were to create an original recipe for a vegan and gluten-free Valentine's Day dessert, and my mind immediately turned to beets! I like the idea of using natural ingredients to create vibrant colours in food instead of using food dye, and beets seemed like the perfect thing to make a pretty pink Valentine's dessert.

Since I don't have much experience in gluten-free baking, I thought that a raw dessert might be the best way to go.  I've tried a couple versions of raw "cheesecakes" where the filling is made of blended cashews, so I wanted to take that idea and create a version using beets.

For the crust, I used a mixture of almonds and dates, although another nut like walnuts or pecans would also work. I also added some cacao nibs to give the crust a slight chocolate-y taste, and I thought the hint of cacao went perfectly with the beet filling.

I was a bit nervous to taste the filling, but it turned out just how I was hoping! The beets added a nice sweetness without tasting too "beet-y", and they combined really well with the cashews to create the cheesecake taste that I wanted.


The final touch to make this dessert extra special for Valentine's Day was to make a garnish shaped like hearts....and what better way to make them than with more beets! I followed Martha Stewart's method for making candied beets and cut them into heart shapes to place on top of the finished cake.

Since I was just making this for myself, I used my miniature cake pan to make a small cheesecake.  Although I ate most of the cake myself, it ended up being the perfect size for two people to share!

Personally, I would choose this raw beet cheesecake over any other indulgent or chocolatey dessert for Valentine's Day, but I realize that most people probably don't share my tastes.  You definitely won't fool anyone into thinking this is a rich cheesecake, but if you want a healthy dessert that still tastes good then I hope you'll give this recipe a try!

And be sure to check out all the other submissions to the Fork and Beans contest for more Valentine's Day dessert ideas!



Miniature Raw Beet Cheesecake
Inspired by various other raw cheesecake recipes

Crust:
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
Pinch of kosher salt

Filling:
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup raw grated beet
2.5 tbsp melted coconut oil
2.5 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of half a lemon

Candied beet hearts for garnish (recipe below)

To make the crust:
Place the almonds in a food processor and process until they are finely chopped. Add the dates, cacao nibs and salt and continue to process until the dates are broken down and the mixture sticks together.

Transfer the crust to the bottom of a round mini cake pan (I used a 4-inch wide, 2-inch deep pan with a removable bottom) and press down firmly, making sure it is evenly spread.  Store the crust in the fridge while you make the filling.

To make the filling:
Drain the cashews and place in the food processor. Add the remaining filling ingredients and process until completely smooth. Pour the filling on top of the crust in the cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place in the fridge or freezer for 1-2 hours to firm up. Once it is set, carefully remove from the pan and garnish with candied beet hearts.

If you have leftovers, store in the fridge or freezer (if stored in the freezer, let it thaw at room temperature before serving).


Candied Beet Hearts:
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

1 medium sized beet, peeled (you won't need all of it)
1/2 cup water
1/4 sugar

Preheat oven to 250°.


Slice the beet very thinly - four or five slices will be enough, depending on how many pieces you want to make. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of each slice (you can try a couple different sized cookie cutters).

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the sliced beets, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes (the syrup will reduce and become thick and sticky).

Remove beets from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, until the beets have dried (they may need an extra 15 minutes or so). Store in a container at room temperature.




This has also been submitted to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert & Dogs.



20 comments:

  1. OH MY GOSH!!! This is wonderful! Gorgeous and creative with the beets.. I LOVE it! OK, now I have to figure out how to secretly make this for V-Day. ;)

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    1. Thanks Janet! I was very excited about this recipe, so I'm glad you like it so much too :)

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  2. So beautiful! How amazing is the colour from beets? Found you from Forks and Beans... so happy I did :)

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    1. I know, the colour turned out even brighter and better than I expected! I'm glad you found my blog too :)

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  3. BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am LOVING the color and the ingredients, fantastic job Genevieve! :)

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    1. Aw thank you! I'm loving all of your entries in the contest too!

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  4. That really is super cute and I would eat it in a heartbeat. Hubby wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Oh well, more for me.

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    1. That's hilarious...my mom said the same thing when I told her about it. I'm glad you still like it though!

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  5. LOVE IT- amazingly creative; oh my gosh and that color, it is incredible; perfect for Valentines Day!

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, we need to bring in something red or pink for a Valentine's potluck next week, so this would be perfect...except I don't think too many of my coworkers share my interest in raw cheesecake!

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  6. It's so pretty! One of my favorite restaurants back in Wisconsin used to serve a raw cheesecake, but I never had the chance to try it because I was always so full from the main course. :)

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    1. Oh, too bad! I actually found this to be pretty light, plus the slices are smaller when its a miniature cake! (although I ended up just slicing off multiple slivers...)

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  7. I am in awe of this recipe! What a gorgeous and exceptionally healthy cake!

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    1. You're too kind :)
      I was so happy that it actually tasted really good in addition to being so healthy!

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  8. i just found your blog and am absolutely loving your recipes. and this beet cheesecake recipe looks perfect for Valentines day- just what i have been searching. looks amazing!

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    1. Thanks so much! I love getting new visitors :)

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  9. That is one pretty cheesecake.. and how i love those candied hearts:)

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    1. Thank you! It's nice to get some extra use out of my cookie cutters for things other than cookies!

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  10. I'm really excited about this recipe! Mostly because of the beets, but also just the overall idea - it looks and seems great! I need to do some vegan shopping (cashews, coconut oil, dates, etc) before I make it, and have one question: even though this will negate the "raw" can I substitute maple syrup for the agave? It's just so abundant 'round these parts of the Great White North...

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    1. Thanks! I think you could definitely substitute another liquid sweetener for the agave...maple might have a stronger flavour, but I'm sure it would still taste good! Hope it turns out for you!

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