(Dairy free, gluten free, vegan)

This recipe is an amalgamation of two favourites – Christmas pudding and vanilla cheesecake. I don’t think it’s cutting corners to have two desserts in one, but more of an irresistible embellishment of two classics.

The fruits on top are infused with orange, brandy, rum or sherry (you choose) and ground cinnamon. If you are feeling festive, you can substitute the orange juice for more booze instead. My choice would be Pedro Ximenez.

I wouldn’t recommend setting fire to this one though.

Photographer: Dawn Langley

INGREDIENTS
SOAKED FRUIT
• 2 cups (300g) of mixed dried raisins/golden raisins/cranberries/sour cherries
• 4 tablespoons (60ml) orange juice – the juice from 2 oranges
• 2 teaspoons ground Ceylon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon brandy or rum (optional)

GINGER BASE
• 1 cup (120g) pecans, dry
• 1 cup (130g) cashew nuts, dry
• 2 tablespoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 – 7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

VANILLA CHEESECAKE
• 1½ cups (200g) cashew nuts, soaked for at least two hours or up to 24 covered in water in the refrigerator.
• 1 cup (250 ml) almond milk
• ½ cup (125ml) agave
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• ½ cup (100g) melted cacao butter – measure after it has melted.
• 1 tablespoon lecithin granules

METHOD
1. Prepare and line a 7 inch cake pan with baking parchment.
2. Soak the dried fruit (raisins/golden raisins and dried cranberries) in the orange juice and brandy. Mix in the ground cinnamon. Leave to infuse sand absorb all the liquid (at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
3. In a food processor, whizz the pecans, cashews, ginger, salt and vanilla until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Finally pulse in the Medjool dates with 2 tablespoon water until the mixture starts to hold together. You may need just 5 dates or possibly 7, it depends on the size and dryness of the dates.
5. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 inch cake tin lined with baking parchment. Chill until firm.
6. Rinse the soaked cashews well under cold running water.
7. In a blender whizz together the soaked cashew nuts, almond milk, agave, lemon juice and lecithin until smooth, adding the melted cacao butter last.
8. Pour the cheesecake mixture into a bowl.
9. Take 4 generous tablespoons of the soaked fruit and stir it into the cheesecake topping mixture. Reserve the remaining soaked fruit for the topping.

Photographer: Dawn Langley

10. Pour the topping over the cheesecake base and chill under firm.
11. To serve, pour the remaining soaked fruits, over the cheesecake.

 

MAKE AHEAD TIP
You can make the cheesecake (except the topping) and it will keep very well in the freezer for up to 3 months. After you have made it, freeze it and then wrap in baking parchment and then cling film to prevent it getting freezer burn. The day before you are ready to serve it allow it to defrost – either overnight in the refrigerator or on the day for 2 hours at room temperature, before pouring the soaked fruits over the top.