Rhubarb Cheesecake (Vegan and Gluten Free)

While rhubarb season may be over, I couldn’t go without sharing this delicious dessert I made this summer! Before being vegan, cheesecake was one of my favourite desserts, and I assumed it was just one of those things I would have to give up when I committed to ditching dairy. But oh man, was I wrong! Plant based cheesecake is a thing and it is insanely delicious, and can be freakishly similar to its dairy counterpart. This one in particular is made from a combination of raw cashews and full-fat coconut cream, making it smooth and creamy, with the traditional tang of cream cheese, created by lemon.

In reality, this cheesecake could be made a LOT more simply, by creating a topping of poached and puréed or cubed rhubarb, or even with any fruit of choice! The options are endless, making this dessert relevant at any time of year. Caramel pecan sauce or winter cranberry and orange compote anyone?? 

This dairy free cheesecake has all of the creaminess and tang of a traditional cheesecake. The soaked and blended cashews along with the coconut cream create a silky smooth base, and the lemon gives it that tang you get in cream cheese! There are absolutely no sacrifices to your tastebuds in opting for a dairy free option of this classic indulgence. And the gluten free crust is perfectly sweet and crumbly, just as a traditional graham crust would be!

 

Notes:

  • I kept this cheesecake stored in my freezer for about a month, and took out and thawed pieces as I wanted them! I recommend cutting it before freezing to make it more convenient! 
  • For the cheesecake filling, choose a canned coconut cream that does not contain stabilizers! You want one that separates the full-fat cream from the water, so we can just use the creamiest, thickest portion! Store the can in the fridge for a day before using it so that it separates. If you forget to chill it, storing it in the freezer for an hour or so will also do the trick.
  • When it comes to peeling your rhubarb, make sure that they are thick enough that they are not super see-through, as they will likely become mushy and hard to work with when they are cooked. a mandolin would likely work best, however, I did okay using a vegetable peeler!
  • You can use the whole rhubarb stalk if you desire, even if it is not pink. You will not end up with as pretty and vibrant of a result, but it will taste just as delicious!

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Rhubarb Cheesecake

vegan • gluten free • dairy free • soy free • refined sugar free

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp water (if needed)

For the filling:

  • 1½ cup raw cashews 
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp lemon zest
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

For the topping:

  • 4-6 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup cane sugar

 

Instructions:
  1. Soak your cashews! Either for a minimum of a couple hours, or for 30 minutes in hot water (if you forgot to soak them like I always do).
  2. Start with the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, dates, and oats. Add in coconut oil, and continue to pulse until ingredients are finely crushed and the mixture becomes slightly sticky. If it feels too dry to form a crust, blend in 1 tbsp of water.
  3. Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform or tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper, and lightly oil the sides. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  4. In a blender or food processor, purée all of the filling ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy consistency, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour filling into the pan over the crust, and place the pan in the freezer.
  5. Thinly slice the rhubarb stalks using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Use the outer slices that have a more pink tint to them. If the insides are pink as well, use the whole stalk, otherwise save the insides for another recipe!
  6. Bring the water and sugar to a gentle simmer over low-medium heat, and place 3-4 strips of rhubarb in the water at a time. Simmer for a couple minutes per batch, until they are soft but not too soft that they are mushy and falling apart. It is better if they are on the underdone side, as they will continue to soften while cooling. Place on a plate, cooling rack, or flat surface to cool as you remove each batch. When all strips are cooked, set aside the sugar water for later.
  7. Using the outer ring of your pan, trace a circle onto parchment paper. This will be your guide for creating the woven rhubarb topping. Place the cheesecake back in the freezer while creating the topping. Vertically line up strips of rhubarb to fill the entire circle, then flip up every other strip to the middle and lay a strip horizontally. Put the flipped up strips down again, and do the same with the other vertical strips, repeating until a lattice pattern is complete across the entire circle.
  8. Slide the parchment paper and rhubarb lattice onto a large plate, and flip onto the cheesecake. Remove the parchment and use scissors to trim the edges of the rhubarb to fit the cheesecake perfectly.
  9. Finish with a glaze of the leftover syrup from poaching the rhubarb. This keeps well in the freezer, and just needs 15-30 minutes to thaw before enjoying. It will keep in the fridge for a short period, but may turn to a softer consistency!

Enjoy! Comment below if you have any other topping Ideas you might try!

With love and lattes,

Jenna

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