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Salted Caramel and Walnut Cheesecake

Salted Caramel and Walnut Cheesecake

Salted caramel and walnut is a classic combination. There's something about the earthiness of walnuts which offsets the sweetness of caramel perfectly. 

With a cashew filling and date caramel, this recipe is dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free and paleo friendly - it will satisfy almost everyone with allergy issues (though clearly not those with nut allergies!). But don't be fooled, I wouldn't classify this as "healthy". Natural sugars or no, this is still a treat. But one which you can feel better about having!

This recipe does take some forward planning as the cashews need to be soaked before being blended to a smooth and creamy puree, and the finished product needs to set in the freezer. But with the help of a high-speed blender it is very quick to come together. 

If you haven't yet invested in a Vitamix then fear not - this will still work, but you will need to run the machine for longer - up to 10 minutes. That's a lot of work for a machine which isn't really designed for that level of load, so take it easy and give your machine a break every minute or so.

  Nobody will guess this is dairy, gluten, and refined sugar fee! An allergy friendly option everyone will love.

Salted Caramel and Walnut Cheesecake

For the base

  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 1/4 c almonds
  • 1/4 c coconut
  • 1/2 c dates
  • 1 T flax seeds
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt

Throw everything into a food processor and blitz until everything is finely chopped and starts to come together. Stop the food processor and check for doneness - if the mixture stays together when pinched, it is done. If it crumbles, process for a few more minutes and test again.

Line the base of a 22cm loose bottom or springform cake tin with baking paper. press the mixture into the bottom and put into the freezer while you make the filling.

The filling - first layer

  • 1 1/2 c cashews, soaked (for at least 2 hours if you are using a high speed blender, or for 6 hours if using any other blender, or longer if you have time)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 c coconut milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • 1 c toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Pop all the ingredients except the walnuts into the blender and process until smooth. This will take only a couple of minutes for a high-speed blender, but up to 10 minutes for a normal blender. See the comments in the description above for doing this.

Once the mixture is nice and smooth, pull the base out of the freezer. Spoon the contents of the blender into the cake tin and smooth over the base in an even layer. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts. Place back into the freezer to set while you make the second layer.

The filling - second layer

  • 1 1/2 c cashews, soaked for 2 to 6 hours as above
  • 20 pitted dried dates, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c coconut milk

As for the first layer, pop everything into the blender and process until smooth. Spoon on top of the first layer and gently smooth into an even layer. Place back into the freezer to set.

The salted caramel layer

  • 1 cup pitted dried dates
  • 1/2c coconut milk
  • 1/4 c water plus more as needed

Again, use your blender for the work here - throw everything in and process until smooth. Add more or less water as needed to bring the caramel into smooth consistency similar to that of a thick pancake batter. 

Pour on top of the cheesecake and smooth out.

Put the cheesecake back into the freezer to fully set - this will take a couple of hours. 

To serve

Pop the cake out of the tin. If you used a springform cake tin, this will be easy. If you used a regular loose bottom cake tin, I find the easiest way to do this is by running a washcloth under hot water. Gently work your way around the outside of the cake tin, just warming the tin slightly. Then place the tin over an inverted cup, centring the base over the cup. Gently push downwards on the outside of the cake ring, working the cheesecake out. Remove the baking paper from the base of the cheesecake, and transfer onto a plate to serve.


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