This raw banoffee cheesecake was the perfect ending to the perfect girly brunch. I had a tough time settling on what to make, and then my friend reposted her (unhealthy) rendition of banoffee pie from a few years ago and it clicked. Who can really say no to bananas, toffee and a good crumbly crust? More so if it’s absolutely delicious, healthy and guilt free! And since no ingredient is cooked, you maintain its full nutritional benefit.
Making a “cheesecake” out of blended raw cashews is a nifty trick in the healthy blog circles. You simply soak cashews for a minimum of four hours, drain and blend with the other ingredients to get a delicious, creamy cashew cream that firms up in the freezer. Absolutely no dairy necessary, and you won’t miss it at all, I promise. And you get all the benefits of the cashew nut – it has a lower fat content than other nuts, and most of the fat present is heart healthy monounsaturated fats. It’s also a major source of the mineral copper, which is important in iron utilization, bone and connective tissue development, and melanin production.
I get the “toffee” flavour from nature’s caramel/toffee – dates! It’s a great source of instant energy, as well as being packed with potassium that plays a part in building proteins and muscle and metabolizing carbohydrates. They are a great natural sweetener, along with the ripe bananas, which is why you don’t need much additional sweetener except for a bit of rice malt syrup. As the softer Medjool dates are really expensive, I pit and soak the “normal” dates that I can find in the supermarket for a minimum of four hours to soften them up. Use the soaking liquid to sweeten your next smoothie to avoid wastage!
I’ve started using rice malt syrup as my main natural sweetener these days. It’s actually around the same price point as agave syrup here, and turns out that agave is actually mostly fructose, a very simple sugar that burns too quickly, giving you a similar burnout as with white sugar. Rice malt syrup is on the other hand fructose free, instead is made of complex carbohydrates are slower burning. It’s also vegan friendly and gluten free. If you’re looking for a good natural sweetener, look out for rice malt syrup. Your body will thank you for it.
Make this cheesecake a day ahead to give it sufficient time to firm up. I find it best to keep it in the freezer overnight, then just before you start your meal you can shift the cake to the fridge to take the edge of the freeze. It doesn’t last long outside the fridge on a hot day, so do keep it back in the fridge when you are done. It’s just way too hot sometimes in Malaysia, a lot of raw desserts don’t hold up as well here. Still doesn’t make it any less delicious even if it’s a little more melted.
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- ¼ cup rice malt syrup
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups of cashew nuts, soaked for a mininum of 4 hours and drained
- ¾ cup ripe bananas
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ⅓ cup rice malt syrup
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup dates, pitted and soaked for a minimum of 4 hours and drained
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup dates, pitted and soaked for a minimum of 4 hours and drained
- ½ cup fresh water
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- pinch of salt
- banana slices, for decoration
- Prepare the crust: Using a food processor, blitz the almonds until you get a fine crumb. Add the desiccated coconut, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and salt, pulse a few times to get it mixed through.
- Pour out the crust into a 9-inch springform pan, and press evenly onto the bottom of the tin. Keep it in the fridge while you prepare the cheesecake filling
- Prepare the filling: This is my best method if you don't have the privilege of owning a Vitamix. Drain the soaked cashews and place in the food processor. Pulse until you get a fine crumb.
- Remove the cashews from the food processor and place it in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until you get a smooth, creamy "cheesecake" mixture. Give it a taste - depending on how sweet the bananas are, you may want to add a couple more tablespoons of the rice malt syrup, to taste.
- Pour the "cheesecake" filling onto the crust. I find it best to let it firm up in the freezer for a minimum of four hours, or overnight.
- Prepare the toffee: Blend the softened dates with the rest of the toffee ingredients until smooth. You may need to add a little bit more water to make it slightly easier to spread.
- Pour the toffee onto the cheesecake and carefully spread over the top. Decorate with banana slices, if you like. Place the cheesecake back in the freezer.
- Before you start your meal, take the cheesecake out and store it in the fridge to take off the edge from the freezer. In hot weather, it starts to melt slightly out of the fridge so do keep refrigerated till serving, and after.