Most people’s reaction to hearing you eat mainly vegan and sugar-free involves the same boggle-eyed question – how the hell do you survive without cheese? Admittedly there are some cheesy dishes, such as cheddar topped baked beans on toast, which just can’t be matched by any vegan alternative, but cheesecake is one tasty treat which can’t just be sufficiently faked, I can be made EVEN BETTER with a vegan makeover – all thanks to the most magical nut of all time, the cashew.
The only drawback with creating a full on vegan cheesecake however is the huge volume of nuts and dates and other ingredients which you need to have stocked up in your cupboards ready to pulverise into something looking like the real deal, which can be way too much admin for those times when a cheesecake craving creeps up on you after watching old episodes of The Bake Off in your PJ’s at 11pm at night.
But, cheesecake fans, there is hope. With the help of insanely yummy Squirrel Sisters bars, you can easily whip yourself up a Mary Berry grade treat without having to have a casual kilo of medjool dates lying around your kitchen, as these bars are pretty much a ready made base, just waiting to be nuzzled next to some creamy cashew cheesecake dreaminess.
So enough talking about it, lets get this food processor party started…
First of all, you need to soak your cashews, so get them in a container and cover in water. They're fine soaking in the fridge, but remove an hour or so before you want to make your desert as it work so much better with room temperature ingredients.
Take your Squirrel Sisters bars and break them up into your processor. Whizz up until they go into crumbs - if you're adding the toasted buckwheat (it just gives it a little extra crunchiness to the base) then do that now, and add the little bit of coconut oil to give it all a hand binding back together.
Scrape all the base mix into a small tray or a mould and press down to compact - I happened to have some really handy little rectangle moulds for this, but you could use anything, like a small baking tray, a teacup or small bowl, get creative! A top tip is if you're worried your slice might get stuck in the mould then line it with some cling film with lots of extra at the sides, so you can pull it out when the time comes. Pop it in the freezer while you do the next bit.
Now chuck all of the creamy layer ingredients into a high speed food processor and blitz up for at least 5 mins on full power. You want it to be pulverised into its creamiest form possible.
Then, chop your berries and heat in a pan with the chia seeds for about 10 mins, until you get a jam-like compote.