It seems like food allergies are so prevalent these days. Babies are being born with severe allergies. Older children are carrying EpiPens with them to school. Adults are experiencing a sudden onset of allergies at all different stages of life. It makes you wonder what would cause people to be so much more prone to this condition than ever before. Of course there are numerous theories, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that food allergies are an inconvenient and often difficult thing to deal with.
It can be very discouraging when your body no longer permits you to eat something that you enjoy. If it isn’t your own gut presenting you with warning signs, maybe it’s coming as a recommendation from your doctor. Removing the culprit from your diet for just a short period of time can sometimes do the trick. Other instances, however, may require an extended length of time or even permanent change in order to correct the issue. Through my family’s own experiences with allergies, it became evident to me. No matter what it is that a person needs to eliminate from their diet, it’s always possible to come up with a suitable and sometimes even yummier alternative.
Cade had just recently started eating solid foods when we gave him his first taste of cashew yogurt. He wasn’t even five bites into it when we started seeing red welts around his mouth, and on his tummy where it had dripped off of his spoon. Unlike so many parents, we were very fortunate. His symptoms subsided fairly quickly without turning into any of the more serious side effects that can often occur. It was still very scary, to say the least.
Because I was nursing at the time, I had no choice but to cut cashews out of my diet as well. Because they are in so many raw desserts, similar to this raw chai cheesecake, going without them seemed a little unfathomable. A desperate attempt to find a replacement ended in some macadamias making their way into my blender. I was actually quite surprised that the batter turned out creamy, with a slight airiness to it. One bite had me wondering why I hadn’t experimented sooner.
Me being in a frenzy, is how some of the most delicious creations have come out of my kitchen. We are such creatures of habit, and especially when it comes to food. It is just easier and faster to fall back on what you know. It is in the moments that we are forced to step out of the box, that creativity is sparked and amazing dishes are created.
Raw Chai Cheesecake
- 1 1/4 c (144g) raw hazelnuts
- 1/4 c (25g) finely shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp (20g) raw buckwheat groats (preferably soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated)
- 10 (175g) dates
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 c (325g) raw macadamias, soaked for 4 hours and drained
- 1/2 c (120g) coconut oil, gently melted
- 3/4 c (180g) almond milk
- 1/2 c (160g) maple syrup* or coconut nectar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 Tbsp sunflower lecithin powder, for added creaminess (optional)
- 1/3 batch of vanilla layer (approx. 265g)
- 1 Tbsp chai spice (recipe below)
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cloves
makes approx. 1/4 c
- Place all crust ingredients except for dates into food processor. Process until it becomes a fine crumb texture. Add dates one at a time until mixture starts to look moist and sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
- Press into an 8-inch springform pan, bringing it slightly up the sides. Place into refrigerator until filling is done.
- Place all of the vanilla layer ingredients except for the sunflower lecithin into a high speed blender. Start on low and increase to full speed within a few seconds. Blend until completely smooth. Once it is smooth, add lecithin and blend until mixture becomes visibly creamier, about 10-15 seconds. Reserve 1/3 (approx. 265g) of the vanilla layer mixture for chai layer.
- Pour vanilla filling into chilled crust and place back into refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Place the reserved vanilla filling back into the blender and add chai spice. Blend just until combined.
- Once vanilla layer has set, pour chai filling over the vanilla layer and place back into refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours before serving.
Will keep in the refrigerator to 4-5 days, or the freezer for up to a few weeks.
*Although maple syrup is technically not raw, it is accepted by many raw foodists due to it's high mineral content.