This Dairy-Free Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ Will Be the Hit of the Picnic

When you think "cheesecake," you automatically think "healthy," right?

No?

You will now. Our version is rich, creamy, lemony, and lusciousbut it's also raw, and free of dairy and refined sugars (and so, Paleo friendly). Yes, it's a cheesecake you can actually feel good about. Our secret weapon: dates, which make up much of the crust and sweeten the filling. They're loaded with fiber and nutrients like iron, potassium, and B vitamins. And they lend a sweet, caramel flavor.

Note: This pie is easy to make vegan as well. Instead of gelatin in the filling, use a vegan-friendly stabilizer like agar-agar or kuzu.

Dairy-Free Lemon "Cheesecake"

Serves: 12

Crust:

2 cups raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts or any combination, about 10.5 oz. total)

1 cup pitted dates (8 oz., about 16 medium)

1 tsp. ground ginger, optional

¼ tsp. salt

Filling:

2 cups raw cashews (about 8 oz.), soaked overnight in cold water

¼ cup maple syrup

1 .25-oz. packet powdered gelatin

1 5.4-oz. can coconut cream

4 dates, pitted (about 2.5 oz.)

1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

½ cup lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

Berries, for topping, optional

  1. Make crust: Blend all ingredients in a food processor until mixture forms a ball. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate.
  2. Make filling: Drain cashews and rinse with cold water. Place in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix). Pour maple syrup into a small pan. Place 1½ Tbsp. water in a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin on top. When gelatin has bloomed (that is, it's become firm, after about 3 minutes), add to pan with maple syrup. Stir over medium-low heat until gelatin dissolves. Add to blender with cashews, along with remaining ingredients. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Pour filling into crust, spread evenly, cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Top with berries just before serving, if desired.

Beth Lipton

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