Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mini Raw Cranberry Lemon Swirl Cheesecakes

I have to admit, fresh cranberries do not find their way into my home often.  I keep dry on hand during the winter months for salads and desserts, but the fresh need cooking and sweetening to be palatable and I do not always want to deal with that.  I used them in crisps a lot last year, but this year, since I have been eating mostly raw, I wasn't sure if I would be using them. 
Afterall, can raw cranberries really be that good?  I was up for a challenge though, and craving something tart so I bought some.  I thought they would make a lovely addition to a raw cheesecake along with lemon.  I didn't just blend up the raw cranberries as they were, I decided to try partially "cooking" them in the dehydrator first and it worked out perfectly once I sweetened them a little, added some orange juice, and made a jam. 
I made a plain lemon filling, as well as cranberry for two tart sweet flavors and I knew they would be delicious once married in the cheesecake.  I poured them over a pistachio crust, and topped it off with some raw coconut cream because I couldn't resit. 
It was beautiful, like a winter sunrise and snow all in one and swirled together topped with cranberries.  Almost too pretty to eat, but who am I kidding, I devoured my cheesecake in no time. 

Mini Raw Cranberry Lemon Swirl Cheesecakes
Makes four 4 inch cakes

1 12 oz containers fresh organic cranberries
1/3 cup raw agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup raw pistachios
3/4 cup sprouted buckwheat, dried in the dehydrator (or additional pistachios)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped

3 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight and drained)
1/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup raw agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
2 cups fresh young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla and seeds of half a vanilla bean (the other half of the one you used for the filling)
1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
For the cranberries (to be later used in the cake, roughly chop them and place them in the dehydrator on a sheet.  Dehydrate for about 4 or so hours until they are softened.  (if you do not have a dehudrator, you can either soften them in the microwave, or in the oven on the lowest temp on a lined baking sheet for less time). Place in a food processor with the agave nectar, orange juice, and vanilla and process until smooth (add a little more juice if not quite a jam consistency, which is what you want). Set aside.

For the crusts, lightly coat the bottoms and sides of four 4 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process pistachios, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until the pistachios and buckwheat are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pans, and set aside.
To make the filling, drain the cashews and combine them with coconut water, lemon juice and zest, agave nectar, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut oil, and process for a minute until blended. Divide the filling in half and place half back into the food processor. Add 2/3 of the cranberries to the filling in the food processor and process until well blended. To assemble, drop the fillings, alternating between cranberry and plain over the crust in 1 Tbspful amounts. Once filled, tap on the counter to level then drop the remaining cranberry puree over the tops of the cheesecakes in small amounts.  Swirl with a knife. place in the freezer to set for about 4-6 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the cream topping, combine all ingredients but the coconut oil in the food processor and process until smooth. Add the coconut oil with the motor running and process about a minute more. Place in a bowl and put in the freezer to set until frosting consistency, about an hour. Place the cream in a pastry bag and pipe around the edges and bottoms of the cheesecakes. Serve! Store leftovers in the fridge.


  1. Wow, Amy, this is stunning! The swirling is perfect. I'm the same way about cranberries...I enjoy them dried and sweetened or with a heck of a lot of sugar :/

  2. Nothing beats a good cheesecake and this one isn't an exception! I love the combination of cranberry and lemon, sounds really refreshing. Not to mention this looks absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Valley Chow

    1. Thanks so much :)! I am happy to share!

  3. This will be the dessert I present to the in-laws for Christmas Day dessert - shall be proof that raw and vegan food can be just as yummy (if not more yummy) than regular food. Amy, do you think I could prepare the recipe as is, but then use it to make one large cheesecake rather than four mini ones? Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe!!! Youa re so clever!

    1. Awesome Chloe :)! If you would like to make a large one, this recipe would need to be doubled to make a 9 inch cheesecake (as the whole recipe as is only makes a 6 inch). Also, allow more time to set, at least 8 hours. Thank you so much for visiting :)!

  4. Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! And I love cranberry so I can't wait to try this recipe...if I can find cranberries. We are living overseas at the moment and some ingredients are hard to come by!

    1. Thank you :)!You can sub your favorite berry or one that is available there :)!