Savory Caprese Cheesecake, dairy-free
Text on the photo (above) by my oldest, Zoe, who just turned ten.
This savory caprese cheesecake is like eating summer on a fork. It’s easy to make (I promise!) with cashew cheese and a walnut crust–no baking required. Basil, heirloom and grape tomatoes, and balsamic will have your taste buds singing while your friends never even suspect that it’s dairy-free.
The trick to this recipe is planning ahead. The tiny amount of prep time will astound you, but there is a lot of waiting around. So begin soaking your nuts three to four days before you want to eat this savory caprese cheesecake, and you’re good to go. It will look a little like this: Day one (or night one, really): Soak the nuts for the filling and the crust (in separate bowls). Day two: Strain the nuts, ferment the cheese, and dehydrate the nuts for the crust. Day three: Assemble and chill.
Dairy-free, nutrient-dense and full of probiotics, this pie is as good for you as it is satisfying. In fact, it’s the same technique I use to make my dairy-free Yummy Yogurt Drink. I hope you love it as much as my family and friends do!
Savory Caprese Cheesecake, dairy-free
For the Cashew Cheese (filling):
Note: Make sure your hands and all of your equipment are very clean to ensure proper fermentation.
Soak 2 cups of plain cashews (I use organic cashew pieces) overnight in enough water to cover, plus two inches.
In the morning add the strained cashews to the food processor with 1/2 cup coconut cream (or water), one tablespoon of maple syrup (or other sweetener), and the contents of enough dariy-free probiotic capsules to equal about 50 billion.
Puree for about ten minutes, scraping the sides once or twice during that time. It should be completely creamy and smooth.
Transfer the puree to a glass dish and cover with a cloth napkin.
Place the covered dish on a heating pad that is sandwiched between two cloth placemats or two kitchen towels.
Turn the heating pad on so that the bottom of the dish is warm, but not hot. Note: I’ve also heard that placing it in the oven with only the oven light on works too.
Ferment the cashew cheese for about 12 hours.
Season with 1/2 teaspoon Herbamare and 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil.
Store in the fridge.
Note: See a how-to video for this cashew cheese HERE.
For the Crust:
Soak 1.5 cups of walnuts overnight in enough water to cover, plus two inches. Do this on the same night that you soak the cashews for the filling.
In the morning strain the nuts and put them in the dehydrator.
Note: You could skip this step (the soaking and dehydrating), but it will make your walnuts much easier to digest.
Dehydrate for about 24 hours.
Optional: Use your oven on the lowest setting if you don’t have a dehydrator. Check frequently, and remove the nuts as soon as they are dry.
Add the walnuts to the food processor with 1/8 teaspoon sea salt and 2 to 3 soft pitted Medjool dates (slightly less than 1/4 cup).
Puree until the nuts are finely ground (about ten seconds).
Note: Pureeing the nuts for too long will result in nut butter (which would be delicious, but wouldn’t work for crust).
Press the crust mixture into a 7″ springform pan.
Scoop the basil infused cashew cheese on top of the crust.
Note: The cashew cheese should be room temperature when you add it to the crust. If it’s cold from the refrigerator then let it sit on the counter for two hours to soften.
Press the filling down with a flexible spatula and smooth the top.
Chill for at least four hours before serving, and store in the fridge.
Run a knife around the outside of the pan to loosen it before taking it off. Then run a knife between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen it before carefully transferring to a plate or cake stand.
Top with fresh sliced tomato and more fresh basil.
Drizzle each slice with balsamic.