240g (11⁄2 cups) pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
100g (2⁄3 cups) raw almonds
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
375g (3 cups) raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water and drained well
185ml (3⁄4 cup) virgin coconut oil, melted
125ml (1⁄2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
125ml (1⁄2 cup) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
seeds from 20 cardamom pods
85g dark chocolate (I used Whittaker’s 64% Single Origin Samoan cacao)
60ml (1⁄4 cup) coconut milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
500g strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or unrefined pure icing sugar
1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
edible flowers, to serve (optional)

This ‘cheesecake’ is loosely based on one I wrote for my first cookbook My Darling Lemon Thyme. It’s entirely plant- based and is a great make-ahead dessert. I’ve made mine in a slice tin and then cut rounds out to serve, but you can set your cheesecake in whatever tin you like. If you serve slices rather than rounds, this would make enough to feed eight or more people. If you’re unsure about the black pepper in the strawberries, start out with 1⁄4 teaspoon and increase as you see fit. You will need to allow 24 hours to soak the cashews before making. I prefer to use fresh cardamom seeds as their flavour is far superior, but you could use 1 teaspoon ground cardamom if preferred.


1.To make the cheesecake base, line a 28cm x 18cm slice tin with baking paper, extending up and over the sides by 2cm.
2.Put the pitted dates, almonds and melted coconut oil into a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
3.Press the mixture into the tin, using the back of a spoon to pack it in firmly.
4.Put all the filling ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth.
5.If you don’t have a high- powered blender, finely grind the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle first before adding to the blender.
6.Pour the mixture over the base and smooth the top.
7.Put into the fridge for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight to set.
8.To make the sauce, roughly chop the dark chocolate and put into a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
9.Add the coconut milk and the maple or brown rice syrup and heat gently until melted. Whisk well if it looks like it’s splitting at any stage.
10.When just melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly before serving or cool and store in the fridge for later use.
11.Re-melt to serve.
12.Slice each strawberry in half lengthwise, then each half into four.
13.Combine with all the remaining ingredients, except the flowers, in a bowl.
14.Cover and chill until needed, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
15.To serve, use a 7cm round biscuit cutter to cut 6 rounds of ‘cheesecake’ and arrange on plates.
16.Save the ‘cheesecake’ scraps for another day.
17.Spoon over a little chocolate sauce, divide the strawberries between the plates and scatter with edible flowers, if using.
18.Serve immediately.

Recipes, food styling Emma Galloway, Photography Charlotte Hedley

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