2 Desserts in the Raw

07.25.2013
Photo by James Ransom

By the editors at Food52.com

So much of the time, we tend to think of desserts as baked goods -- gooey chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven, pies oozing with berries. And while those can certainly hit the spot, there are other, less top-of-mind desserts that deserve their moment in the spotlight (and a place in our bellies). 

In summertime, our favorite underdogs are raw desserts, which not only minimize time in the kitchen, but also eliminate the need to crank up on a hot oven. Plus, these sweets can be far more wholesome than their cooked counterparts. Here are two of our favorite raw treats.

Raw, Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake

Think raw, vegan dessert means a fruit cup? This rich, creamy, and beautiful raw cheesecake is going to prove you wrong. It freezes well, too, so it's perfect to make ahead when entertaining.

Serves 12

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup raw almonds
Pinch sea salt
2 cups pitted medjool dates

For the filling:
3 cups cashews
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cups melted coconut oil
1 vanilla bean, cut in half, seeds scraped out for use, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup strawberries

  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight or for three or more hours. Drain them of water and set aside. 
  2. Place the almonds and sea salt in a food processor and grind roughly. Add the dates and process until the mixture is uniform and sticks together when you squeeze a bit in the palm your hand. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9” springform pan. 
  3. Use a high speed blender or food processor (high speed blender is preferable) to blend all filling ingredients except for the strawberries thoroughly, until silky smooth. If you’re working with a processor, you may need to stop often to scrape it down. 
  4. Pour just more than half of the filling mixture into the springform pan. Use an inverted spatula to smooth it over. Transfer to the fridge for thirty minutes or more to let this layer set. 
  5. Blend the strawberries into the remaining filling mixture. Set it aside in a bowl while the first layer is setting. Once the first layer has been in the fridge for thirty minutes or longer, spread the strawberry layer over the plain vanilla layer. Transfer whole cheesecake to the fridge and let it sit for two hours or longer before slicing and serving.

Save and print this recipe at Food52.

Photo by James Ransom

The Kitchn’s One Ingredient Ice Cream

Making one-ingredient ice cream couldn't be simpler. It tastes like the frozen bananas you ate at the boardwalk as a kid, except (thanks to the fruit’s high pectin content) it whips up like Marshmallow Fluff. Vegan and raw foodists have long known this trick, but a few years ago, The Kitchn published a photo tutorial and one-ingredient ice cream went mainstream. Bloggers spread the gospel and suddenly it wasn't just a workaround for ice cream, but an exciting dessert in its own right, regardless of its pure reputation.

Serves 4 to 6

1 bunch bananas

Get the recipe at Food52.

Tell us: What’s your favorite raw dessert?

​Food52 is a one-stop destination for people who like to eat and live well. Dedicated to supporting, connecting, and celebrating home cooks, Food52 provides the best quality, curated content about food and cooking, sourced from home cooks and experts.

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