No-bake vegan chocolate cherry cheesecake – this striking dairy-free cheesecake is made using natural, healthy ingredients and the bright pink colour comes from just cherries, no food colouring needed!
Place the cashews for the filling to soak. I cover them with boiling water and leave them for an hour or two but you can also soak them in cold water overnight instead.
While the cashews are soaking, make the cheesecake base. Place the dates in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes then drain well.
While the dates are soaking, place the mixed nuts in a food processor and blend until they are fairly finely chopped. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
Place the drained dates in the food processor (no need to wash it first). Blend until they are finely chopped then add the cacao powder and a pinch of salt and blend again.
Add the ground nuts and pulse until well combined. The mixture should be thick and clump together well. If it is too dry you can add a drop of water, and if it is too sticky then you can add some ground almonds or fine rolled oats.
Lightly grease a 20cm/8 inch round springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Transfer the date mixture to the tin and press it out evenly across the base. Pack it down as firmly as you can then pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Defrost the cherries in the microwave, you want them to be just warm so that the cacao butter doesn't re-solidify in the blender.
Place the cacao butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Don't let the base of the bowl touch the water. Stir until melted then remove from the heat.
Drain the soaked cashews well and place them in a blender along with the defrosted frozen cherries, agave nectar or maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, melted cacao butter and stevia leaf powder or coconut sugar.
Blend the mixture until it is very smooth. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times. If your blender is struggling to get it smooth then you can add a drop of milk or water to aid it along. Don’t add too much though, you want the mixture to be as thick as possible so the cheesecake sets well.
Taste the mixture and add more stevia leaf powder/coconut sugar if you feel it needs more sweetness.
From this point on you need to work quickly as once the agar agar has been activated it starts to set extremely quickly; so have everything ready and close to hand.
Pour the full fat coconut milk into a pan and sprinkle over the agar agar powder. Whisk well until smooth then place the pan over a medium-low heat and whisk constantly as the mixture comes up to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes, whisking the whole time, until the milk has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately scrape the mixture into the blender with the rest of the cheesecake filling. Blend until very well combined, scrape down the sides and blend again.
Straight away pour the filling mixture over the prepared base and spread it level. Refrigerate for at least four hours until the cheesecake has set.
To make the ganache topping, place the chopped dark chocolate and full fat coconut milk in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water. Stir until melted and smooth then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Carefully unmould the cheesecake and place it on a serving plate. Once the ganache has cooled but is still pourable, pour it over the top of the cheesecake and smooth it out with a spatula. Either serve the cheesecake right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.