Holiday time is often a period when even the healthiest eaters let go a little bit and indulge in decadent foods. However, you don’t have to compromise anything with this super healthy but oh-so-rich-and-decadent chocolate dessert. It’s loaded with antioxidants, protein, good fats, and minerals, but is low in sugar. It’s an extreme chocolate experience that’s also vegan and raw, with zero processed or unhealthy ingredients.
This recipe is rich and creamy like traditional cheesecake, and the smooth consistency is integral to creating that wonderful experience. If you’re used to preparing raw and/or vegan dishes, you probably have a high-powered blender (like a VitaMix or Ninja) and a food processor. Vegan and raw dishes use a lot of nuts to create a wide range of flavors and textures, and a high-powered blender makes it so much easier to achieve a smooth texture.
You can also achieve a smooth texture with a normal blender by going slowly and blending a small amount at a time.
You will need to soak the cashews used in the pie filling overnight in the refrigerator. Soaking the cashews makes them soft and easy to cream up in the blender. If you want to prepare the crust in advance, you can do that too.
The measurements in this recipe are in ounces rather than cups. When you weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale, you will make it perfectly every time and repeat the recipe consistently. Nuts are pricey, so mistakes can be expensive; weighing your ingredients reduces the likelihood of errors. Fortunately, you can pick up a cheap digital kitchen scale on Amazon for around $10.
Tool-wise, you will need a high-powered blender, a food processor, a 10” spring form cake pan, and a rubber spatula.
The recipe calls for raw cacao powder. It’s not a misspelling of cocoa; raw cacao is unheated and untreated genuine cacao beans that have been ground to a fine powder. Cocoa refers to cacao that has been processed by roasting.
For the crust, you will need:
8 oz. walnuts
6 oz. almonds
3 oz dates (approximately 5)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
In a food processor, pulse all of the ingredients together until it’s the consistency of coarsely crushed graham crackers. If you over-process, the nuts will turn into nut butter so just pulse it until you have that cracker-like consistency.
Spread the crust on the bottom of the cake pan, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add the filling.
For the ganache filling, you will need:
6 oz. cashews, soaked overnight and drained
2 cups almond milk (you can also use coconut milk)
the flesh from half an avocado
¾ cup agave or maple syrup
1 pinch of Himalayan or other good salt
11 oz. raw cacao powder
¾ cup coconut oil, melted
1 oz. raw cacao nibs, for garnish (optional)
In the food processor, combine the cashews, avocado, salt, and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Slowly add the almond or coconut milk, then add the cacao powder. Once these ingredients are blended, add the melted coconut oil.
By now everything will be blended and on its way to becoming smooth. This is when the high-powered blender comes in. Place 1/4 to 1/3 of the mixture into the blender and blend on high until super smooth and creamy. Pour into the cake pan over the crust, and repeat the process until done.
Scrape every last drop of the ganache from the blender with a rubber spatula. Smooth the top of the pie with the spatula. You can garnish the top with the raw cacao nibs, which add a nice crunch, or simply leave it smooth.
Place the pie in the freezer for several hours to set.
When the pie is nice and firm, remove the pan and place the pie on a glass cake dish. Serve thin slices of this decadent dessert and garnish with coconut whipped cream or fresh berries.
Happy healthy eating!