I am a serious lover of cheesecake. A true New York style cheesecake, preferably fresh from the oven with an oozing berry topping drizzled over. Generously drizzled over. The tangy, cream cheese-y flavor, buttery graham cracker crust combined with the pop of tart berries in your mouth. Ok, yum, right?
But how many of these mouth-watering experiences can you say you've had guilt-free? Yeah, pretty much zero. So while J and I could polish an entire cheesecake off in one sitting (though he prefers the pumpkin & gingerbread crust fall-ish version), it's not an indulgence we allow ourselves often. Hence, the birth of our new favorite no-bake. I was inspired by this recipe on Bon Appetit, which I have made and is amazing, but wanted to make a tad healthier.
I've replaced the cream cheese with a can of Trader Joe's Coconut Cream. Have you tried the stuff? It's so thick and rich and very yummy. An ingredient or two used to thicken the milk are unfamiliar though. So if you're uncomfortable using it, you can get the regular canned, preferably organic, full-fat coconut milk and use just the thick creamy top (refrigerate the cans and allow the milk to seperate into coconut water and coconut cream) from 2 cans for this recipe.
The graham cracker crust is replaced with a protein-rich almond crust, sweetened with dried figs, which along with the butter help to bind the crust together. For the berry topping, I used Costco's Nature's Three Berries frozen berry mix. You can use whatever berries you prefer or have on hand. Even fresh will work just fine.
This cheesecake is best served very cold (frozen is refreshing too on a warm day) and in the company of good friends. Although in warning, sharing may be difficult.
NOTE: For those who have asked about how to get coconut cream if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can purchase this and it will work just as well.
No-Bake Greek Yogurt & Berry Cheesecake
2 c. raw almonds
5 dried figs (or dates)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. butter, ghee, or coconut oil
2 tsp. grass-fed unflavored gelatin
2 small lemons, juiced (can be adjusted to taste, use 1 for a less tangy)
2 c. grass-fed full-fat plain greek yogurt (sub more coconut cream for dairy-free)
14 oz coconut cream
1/2 c. raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 c. organic frozen berries (your choice)
1 lemon, juice & zest
1 tbsp. honey
For the crust: roast the almonds on a dry sheet pan at 425F for 10-15 min. In the bowl of a large food processor, combine the roasted almonds, figs, salt, and butter and pulse until well-combined. Press into a 9-inch springform pan and refrigerate 30+ minutes.
For the cheesecake filling: place gelatin and lemon juice in a small heat-proof bowl and set the bowl in a small saucepan with simmering water (over low heat). Stir until gelatin is melted, remove from saucepan, and set aside. Combine remaining filling ingredients in the bowl of a large food processor and process until well-combined, about 60 seconds. With the machine running, drizzle warm lemon/gelatin mixture in and process another 30 seconds (EDIT: make sure it is mixed in WELL or the cheesecake will not set evenly).
For the berry topping: combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until berries begin to pop and mixture begins to thicken. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth (you could also leave it chunky on the cheesecake). Keep in the fridge until serving.
To assemble: pour cheesecake mixture into the cooled crust. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Warm the berry topping, gently spread on top and serve as-is or refrigerate an hour for a more "set-up" look.
Keeps for up to a week in the fridge. Can be served frozen, if desired.