Culinary + Fashion

Kitchen Witch | Pitaya Cherry Vegan Cheesecake

by | Aug 28, 2017

Vibrant, joyous, glowing pink – this plant-based cheesecake is a jewel in my growing family of vegan desserts. I felt called to create this cake in the peeling back of consciousness right before sleep, pulling myself upright to jot the idea down in my notebook then slowly succumbing to the night comforted by the promise of a new sweetness: pitaya, cherries & coconut.

Pitaya roja (red dragonfruit) popularly grown in Mexico, Central America, the United States, Southeast Asia, Israel, Australia and Brasil, is a pink, leather-skinned fruit, with black seeds much like a kiwi fruit. Its flesh can be white, yellow or a deep magenta-red and tastes a little sour, a little sweet.

Inspired by the generosity I witness by my friends who love to cook for each other, I dreamed this cake as a token of my appreciation and gratitude. A wordless thank you. To make this plant-based, vegan cheesecake, requires a little planning and patience, but once frozen, will keep for a few months – if you can keep your hands off it!

PITAYA CHERRY PLANT BASED CHEESECAKE

For 6, 7, 8, 9-inch spring form, use this recipe as is. For a 10, 11, 12-inch spring form, DOUBLE the recipe!

Base:
1 C hazelnuts, toasted, roughly crushed in food processor
1 C shaved coconut, toasted
1/3 C coconut oil
2 C dates, room temperature

Filling:
3 C soaked cashews, soaked for 12 hours
1 capsule probiotics
1 pitaya pouch, melted
1/3 C maple syrup
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 C refined coconut oil
1/2 C frozen dark cherries, defrosted
2 tsp nooch (or Nutritional Yeast)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 C water, optional if filling is too thick

For the base:
Begin with your coconut and throw in a shallow pan to toast on low heat until golden. Set aside to cool and repeat with whole hazelnuts until you can smell the fragrant hazelnuts releasing their aroma. Set aside to cool. Throw hazelnuts into a food processor until crushed but still a little chunky. Repeat with toasted coconut. In a food processor, pour coconut oil and dates, pulse until roughly blended. Move contents to a bowl and mix toasted hazelnuts and toasted coconut. Line your springform pan with baking paper, on the sides too, and pour in base. Create an even layer with your fingertips, throw in the fridge to cool.

For the filling:
Get your high speed blender and begin by blending the soaked cashews, coconut oil and probiotics. Next, throw everything else in at once. Keep some water near just in case the filling is too thick. Pulse to keep from heating. Once there are no lumps, pour over the base and smooth with an offset spatula. Chill in the freezer for at least six hours or overnight. Take this cake to a gathering of your closest friends as a surprise or to a house party to give to strangers who will instantly love you.

Optional, Grace (little food prayers): I’m grateful for the long journey this pitaya has taken to find itself in my kitchen in my hands and to share this love with my friends, to nourish ourselves on our journeys within and beyond.