Summertime Vegan Cheesecake

It’s been a really good past week. Like, really good. I didn’t have a lot of orders, so I took time for myself and forced myself out of my comfort zone more than a couple times. I hopped on my bike and rode outside of town on possibly the most gorgeous night. I rode with two of my girlfriends, Russell rode with his friends – and we all met out on the trail, surrounded by open fields, a big Nebraska sky, and very good people. On Friday, I dropped everything at the last minute and drove two hours, down to Kansas, for last-minute camping under the full moon. Even though it was last-minute, still had time to throw together the super simple S’more Brownies – literally, they took 40 minutes from start to headed-out-the-door finished!
One of our good friends is heading to Philadelphia for the summer, so we really tried to live it up this week and soak in the best parts of this season. On Wednesday, we helped her pack – a.k.a. a group of us tried on the clothes she doesn’t want anymore, drank beer, giggled, and ate potato chips and vegan cheesecake. We mostly just giggled, though.
This cheesecake is truly great and customizable – however, you do really need a high-powered blender to get the best results. I use and love my Vitamix. It was a wedding present and yes, we definitely know how lucky we are to have one. After using them in pastry school and in professional kitchens, Russell and I knew nothing else would stand up to this brand. 
The crust is nuts and oats, and the filling is mostly cashews. I made the filling into two layers, one with fruit and one without, because I had some excellent peaches and strawberries on hand. That is totally optional! You can make this in a loaf pan, or a springform pan. I used a large loaf pan, and would recommend an 8″ springform pan if you go that route.

Crust Recipe

1.5 c rolled oats

1 c raw walnuts

5 medjool dates

2-3 Tbsp almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

Filling Recipe

2 c raw cashews, soaked for at least five hours (or boiled for 15 minutes)

3/4 c maple syrup

juice of one lemon

4 Tbsp almond milk

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp salt

Line a loaf pan or springform pan with parchment paper.
For the crust, put oats and nuts into a food processor and blend to make a flour-like consistency, or chunkier if you like more texture. Drop in the dates (don’t forget the pits!) and pulse the mixture until the mixture is in little chunks. Add 1 Tbsp of almond milk at a time, and blend until it all comes together. You might need a bit more almond milk, depending on how moist the dates are. Press the crust into your pan of choice. Put in the freezer while you make the filling
Put all filling ingredients in a blender and blend on the highest speed until completely smooth. This took about 2 minutes in my Vitamix, but could take up to five minutes in a different blender. Just check by turning off the blender and sticking your finger in – then kind of squish the mixture between two fingers to see if it’s smooth or still has little chunks.
At this point, you can either pour your smooth, luxurious filling right on top of the frozen crust, or you can divide it in half. I poured half of the mixture into the pan and added five strawberries and half of a peach into the rest – and blended all of that until smooth. Let the bottom layer freeze for about 30 minutes, then pour the fruity layer on top.
Let the cheesecake freeze for at least 6 hours. Before serving and cutting, let the frozen cheesecake sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.