The bunnies aren't the only ones who can enjoy eating sweet spring flowers in the coming weeks, though. Today I created some pretty and wonderful tasting cheesecake blossoms for people to savour. Made with the fresh flavours of lemon and raspberry, these bite-sized delights are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and simply made using a food processor, a silicone mold (or mini-muffin tin), and the freezer.
Lemon and Raspberry Cheesecake Blossoms
(inspired by this raw cashew dreamcake recipe from My New Roots)
1/2 cup raw nuts (I used half walnuts and half almonds)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water in the fridge and then drained
the juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup partially thawed frozen raspberries
plus fresh raspberries and blueberries for garnish
Prepare the crust mixture by adding the raw nuts, Medjool dates, coconut, vanilla, and sea salt to the bowl of a food processor and processing everything at high speed until the nuts are coarsely ground and all ingredients are well mixed together. You may need to stop the food processor to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. When it is ready, the crust mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
Spoon a little of the crust mixture into the bottom of each flower in a silicone baking mold. (I found the one I used at Bulk Barn.) Press the mixture down firmly with your fingers to form a well stuck together base that is about half an inch thick.
Next prepare the cheesecake filling. Add the soaked cashews, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and vanilla to the bowl of your food processor. In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the coconut oil and honey until the oil is melted. Whisk these two ingredients together and then add them to the other ingredients in the food processor bowl. Process everything at high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (You may need to be patient -- it took several minutes for this mixture to reach a nice smooth consistency in my food processor.)
Once the cashew mixture is ready, scoop out about two-thirds of it into a separate bowl, and stir the lemon zest into this larger portion.
Add the partially thawed raspberries to the remaining cashew mixture in the food processor bowl and process again at high speed until the raspberries are completely blended in.
Gently spoon the lemon cashew mixture into half of the flower molds, taking care to fill in all of the available space in each flower, and smooth out the top as well as you can with the back of a spoon or an icing spreader. Repeat this process using the raspberry cashew filling for the remaining flower molds.
Place the filled molds into the freezer for a couple of hours, or until the cheesecake blossoms are very firm. Carefully pop the cheesecake blossoms out of the molds, and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. To serve, garnish each cheesecake flower with a fresh berry centre.
It has been years since I've eaten cheesecake, and I was thrilled with how delicious these relatively healthy little cashew-based blossoms are. I think they'll make a lovely Easter dessert to share with family this coming weekend. Maybe now I won't mind so much when the bunnies eat our other flowers!
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.