Notes from the Rainforest Foods kitchen: a rich, raw, vegan-friendly cheesecake with seasonal berry fruit.

Autumn is high season for berry fruit, which can be found in the garden, sometimes growing wild, and certainly at a good organic food store. As the weather begins to hint at the cooler notes of autumn, desire stirs for food that combines seasonal bounty with a little richness.

This cheesecake is actually both raw and vegan, although you might not spot this at first eating. It uses whatever berry fruit you prefer, whether raspberries, blackberries, currants or blueberries. To these it adds the South American Acai berry, in powder form. Acai is one of the world’s greatest sources of antioxidants.

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 65g/2.5oz desiccated coconut
  • 120g/4.5oz almonds
  • 50g/2oz pumpkin seeds
  • 210g/7.5oz pitted dates
  • Half tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 390g/13oz cashew nuts (soak for 24 hours in water)
  • 125ml/3.5fl oz coconut or almond milk
  • 80ml/3.5fl oz filtered water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 90g/3.5oz honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Rainforest Foods Acai Berry powder
  • 250ml/9fl oz melted coconut oil
  • 390g/13oz fresh wild or organic berries of your choice

Can make individual cheesecakes or one whole one.

Method:

For the base:

  1. Blitz the desiccated coconut in a food processor until it forms a flour. Add the almonds, seeds and dates and blend until you get a couscous-like texture. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until it holds together well. If the mixture still looks too dry you can add 1-2tsp water to make it stickier.
  2. Line a 20cm/8in cake tin with cling film. A springform tin will be easier to get the cheesecake out of eventually. Press the mixture into the base of the tin, firmly and evenly. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Blend all the ingredients except the berries, coconut oil and Acai Berry powder – blend until you achieve a very smooth texture. Then add the Acai Berry powder and coconut oil. Blend again, until a good pink/purple colour is achieved.
  2. Here you can decide whether to blend the berries in and achieve a vibrant pink; Fold them in so you have the whole berries running through the cheesecake, or a mixture of both!
  3. Pour the topping onto the base, and scatter a few berries on the top to dress. Place back in the fridge for at least 6 hours. This will be better if refrigerated overnight. Once it is set, remove from the tin and carefully take off the clingfilm.