Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mini Raw Champage Grape Citrus Cheesecakes



I was a wierd child...I did not like grapes.  In a fruit salad, or as a snack, I always picked them out of things.  This went on until about 2 years ago when I discovered champagne grapes.  I guess I just decided to buy them because they were quite beautiful, little purple grapes that looked like they could be part of a centerpiece or something. 


I was a bit skeptical about how tasty they would be, but when I bit into them, they were amazing!  Some of the most flavorful grapes I had ever eaten!  I decided grapes weren't so bad afterall.  I ended up making those grapes into a balsamic laced champagne grape crisp, and it was wonderful!



Since the grapes are only available here part of the year, I enjoy them while I can!  Last weekend, I came across some and had to buy them.  While I admit I just snacked on most of them, some made their way into dessert as well.  In the form of a raw cheesecake!


Since the grapes were so sweet, I decided to pair them with a little citrus to balance out the flavor.  I decided to make a beautiful swirled filling since those types of cheesecake are my favorite!  For the crust I decided on walnuts, because I love them with grapes. 



The cheesecake was amazing...sweet and a little tart from the citrus, silky and rich.  As I devoured my creation, I couldn't help but be thankful I got over my hatred of grapes...maybe there are other things I disliked as a kid that I should try again.



Mini Raw Champagne Grape Citrus Cheesecakes
Makes four 4 inch cheesecakes

Crust:
3/4 cup walnuts

1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped



Filling:
2 3/4 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp organic orange zest
1 Tbsp organic lemon zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1 cup champagne grapes

Cream:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and seeds of half a vanilla bean (reserved from filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)


Champagne grapes for topping

Lightly coat four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process walnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the pecans are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottoms of the prepared pans, and set aside.


To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, citrus juice, and zest, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Remove the filling from the food processor, and divide evenly between 2 bowls. Place half back into the food processor and 1 cup champagne grapes. Puree until smooth and scrape back in the bowl.

To assemble the cheesecake, drop the two fillings over the crusts in 1 tsp amounts in a checkerboard fashion, until it is all used up. Place in the freezer until it is set, 4 to 6 hours, then once set store in the fridge.
To make cream, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the bottom of the cheesecakes. Top with some champagne grapes. Store leftover cake in the fridge.


18 comments:

  1. That's it. I officially give you the title of "Raw Dessert Master"

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  2. I second that, Grubarazzi. She is the best! Grapes, walnuts, cheesecake...music to my ears. Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Kate :)! It was a heavenly combo ;)!

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  3. Beautiful....I love eating champagne grapes, but never used them in baking. Never thought of it...till now :)

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    1. Thanks Bibi :)! Aren't they addictive?!

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  4. Oh. my. gosh. This looks fantastic! Rawsome discovery! ;)

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  5. I have been seeing champagne grapes everywhere...I'm not a big grape girl either, but maybe, like you, I'll like these tiny bunches more? Your citrus cheesecakes look lovely, my friend, and I wish I could try one! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. You should try them Monet, they might convert you ;)! Wish I could send you one of the cheesecakes :)!

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  6. I love grapes but don't bake as much as I'd like with them.
    Your cheesecake looks great! love the swirls

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  7. As a kid, I hate grapes too even though my mother was a big fan and tried to force me all she could. I've made my peace with it now and can now totally imagine myself eat a slice of this gorgeous dessert.

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    1. Funny how that works ;)! Glad to hear you had a similar experience to mine :)!

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  8. Hello! I just got around to making this, since I had all the ingredients in my kitchen and wasn't sure if that would ever happen again! It turned out just like your pictures, though I did make it into one 6" cake, which wasn't a problem.
    I was wondering, though, how long you process the cashews to reach a smooth consistency? It seems that no matter how long I run my blender, or how much extra water I add, they are still somewhat grainy, and I must stop before it's truly smooth and before it turns into cashew butter! And I even soak them for longer than it calls for. I don't know where I'm going wrong. Luckily, that has never stopped me before. Thanks for all the scrumptious recipes!

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    1. Your food processor may not be powerful enough or your ingredients may be too cold (see my helpful hints and tips page). I process my cashews for about 5 minutes. You may need to strain the mixture if your processor is not strong enough. Did you soak the cashews then use the same amount of all other ingredients?

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    2. Yes, I soaked them, and didn't veer from any amount called for with regard to other ingredients. The cashews were pretty soft going into the blender. I do store them in the freezer, now that you mention it. I will look at your hints and tips page! Thanks for answering!

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    3. It is probably the coconut oil clumping then (because the mixture it was going into was too cold or the oil was not warm enough and it separates causing clumps) or your food processor is not powerful enough to handle the mixing.

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