Back in my callow twenties (and even into my thirties), I was one of those annoyingly punctual people who submitted essays three days early, was always the first one at the restaurant, or who arrived with 30 minutes to spare at the dentist. I’d cast a scowling glance at friends who arrived late for our meetings, implying that their behavior was both inconsiderate and an indication of how little they valued me and my time. (How on earth did they put up with me. . .?). Then, when I finally acquired a car of my own and could finally drive everywhere. . . suddenly I, too, was also late at least 50% of the time. These days, if I can make it to appointments without forgetting altogether, I consider it an accomplishment. (And sorry about that missed appointment last week, Dr. Chiropractor). Needless to say, I’m much more tolerant of tardiness in others these days. (And sorry for those scowling glances, Gemini I). That pernicious lateness vibe seems to have permeated other aspects of my life in recent years, too. The HH and I have become notorious for our exorbitant late fees at the video store (so much so that last week, the cheerful cashier suggested, “Hey, why don’t you just purchase the used DVDs instead? When you buy three, you get one for free!”–which meant that the cost of three DVDs was less than the single late fee we paid for one. Thanks, Mr. Video Store Cashier. Oh, and would anyone like a gently used copy of Date Night?). One of the most vexing aspects of my perennial lateness is my tendency to miss out on myriad blog events in which I’d love to participate. Every month, I read over the contributions to the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger roundup, for instance, and think, “Why didn’t I join in? Oh, yeah–too late.” Or I browse the wonderful soups or salads in No Croutons Required and ask myself, “Gee, I made a salad this month–now why didn’t I enter it? Oh, yeah–too late.” Or maybe I pass by the post for My Legume Love Affair one month, and wonder, “Hey–now how come I didn’t submit something to this? Oh, yeah–too late.” Just call me the female version of Alice’s Lapine friend (well, minus the red jacket and whiskers, that is. Though now that menopause is imminent, I’m told it may become just “minus the jacket” soon. Sorry, HH. )
Well, I’ve been following Lisa and Nicole’s raw challenges for a few months now, and I always intend to participate. But then. . . .yep, you guessed it, I’m too late. When I read their post about the Raw Mini Pie Challenge, I decided that this time, I’d start early and be sure to get my entry in on time. One can dream. . . . And now, here it is, the Friday night of the event deadline, and I am just writing up my post. Well, better late than. . . . oh, no, wait. Not this time! I found my inspiration for this raw dessert in yet another Martha Stewart recipe (this one, which was baked), as well as on Lisa’s own blog. I decided to reproduce the concept of apricot cheesecake in a raw mini pie. These little confections pair a gingerbread “cookie” crust with a satiny smooth cashew cream cheese base and tangy fresh apricot swirl. The luscious cheese presents the perfect yin to the lemon-infused apricot’s yang (and the pattern even resembles the yin-yang a little). I’d say the cheese filling in these, a cross between a New York style cheesecake and a mousse, is better than any dairy-based cheesecake I’ve ever had, hands down. The HH and I adored these indulgent little treats a few nights ago, right before we watched The Social Network. And since we now own the DVD, there were no worries about being late for the movie. Now if only I can manage to make it to the dentist on time. . . .
Mini Raw Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Pies
Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and beyond
These rich little bites are a perfect combination of tart, sweet, creamy and chewy. A great treat after an end-of-summer meal. To keep the recipe raw, use raw almond milk that you make yourself.
For the Filling (inspired by Lisa’s own Blueberry Lavender Tart Filling):
1 cup (165 g) raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours (or up to overnight), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk (for raw, use homemade; or use milk from a carton if you don’t mind it not being raw)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) light agave nectar
20-40 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia (I use NuNaturals), to your taste
3 Tbsp (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of one lemon
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, melted
For the Crust:
1-3/4 cups (200 g) raw pecans
2/3 cup (115 g ) raw natural almonds
2/3 cup (55 g) dried unsweetened coconut
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1 Tbsp (15 ml) whole chia seeds, ground to a fine powder in a coffee grinder
pinch fine sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp (30 ml) yacon syrup
50-70 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
up to 2 Tbsp (30 ml) plain or vanilla unsweetened almond milk (make your own or, if you’re not worried about it being raw, use milk from a carton)
For the Apricot Swirl:
3-4 small fresh apricots, pitted and cut in quarters
2 tsp (10 ml) white chia seeds, ground to a fine powder in a coffee grinder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
10-20 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
Make the filling: Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (such as a VitaMix) and blend until silky smooth. This make take a while and you may have to use the wand to push the ingredients toward the blades and scrape down the sides several times. Remove to a bowl and allow to sit while you prepare the crust.
Make the crust: Place the pecans, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, chia meal and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until it resembles a fine meal. Add the remaining ingredients and process just until it comes together in a “dough”. Do not add the milk unless absolutely necessary! Try pinching the crumbled dough between your fingers; if it sticks together, it’s fine, even if it appears a bit dry.
Make the apricot swirl: Place all ingredients in a blender (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth. The mixture will be semi-liquid but should firm up as the chia absorbs the moisture.
Assemble the pies: Divide the crust dough among 5-6 tart tins (4-6 inches/10-15 cm each), pressing on the bottom and up the sides. Fill with the cheesecake filling, dividing it evenly among the pans. Using a 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) measuring spoon, dollop the apricot spread haphazardly over the top of the cheesecake filling, leaving some white spaces. Using the tip of a sharp knife, pull it through the apricot mixture in different directions to create a marbled effect.
Place the pies in the refrigerator and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight to allow the cheesecake filling to firm up. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Makes 4-6 mini pies.
Note: If you have any leftover apricot spread, save it in a covered container in the refrigerator to use as fresh jam on toast, pancakes, or crackers (it will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator).
NOTE: You might also be interested in the twin baked version of this dessert, Baked Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Bars.
© Ricki Heller
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