A couple weeks ago when browsing the web I came across a recipe posted on Heather Pace’s website Sweetly Raw that caught my eye. She called it Cranberry Grape Cheesecake. Her beautiful pictures and recipe can be found here.
Did you look at her pictures? Can you imagine making a cheesecake out of cranberries?
Well, even though the thought of eating a hand full of cranberries makes my mouth pucker, I still felt attracted to the idea of creating and consuming this pink confection. Thus, yesterday (& two days ago) I put some time in to see if I could duplicate what she created and, more importantly, see if it was something that could be served on thanksgiving. Well….
It turned out! I was pretty shocked for I’m not the best chef and I almost always stray from the main recipe. I’d say that I replicated that pink color to the T.
Would you like a slice?
There are two key differences that I’d like to share with you – if you haven’t already noticed.
First off, look at the crust. What Heather put together has stuck together. Most of my pie crusts ‘perform’ this way (lol – Ha! That might come across like a comment from an armchair quarterback for I would definitely not call myself a Raw Food Chef and I’m just in it for the eating!). I would imagine that when she blanched her almonds they might have picked up some of the water. Even when I go and put what I think is the driest crust together water seeps down making it doughy rather than flaky.
Well, … I improvised a little here. One thing was that I did not blanch my almonds. Another is that I used ½ cup ground flax seed rather than oat groats. I don’t know if that really makes a difference, but look at my flakey crust! Well, ok, crumbly crust. But it reminded me of the old gram cracker crust that you would see on a standard cheesecake.
The second one is that she had a bag of fresh concord grapes that she was working with (See her post from a few days earlier). I had simple red ones that I could find at the grocery store. I would have loved to have some deep blue fresh off the vine berries, but, such is life. I got what I got and, well, I’m pretty darn happy with it!
So now that it’s been cut, I’ve only got ½ the pie left. That might say something about how it tastes. It is surprisingly good! The crust carries a candy bar crunch with just a hint of vanilla. The body is firm and neutral. It doesn’t contain too much cranberry or nuts. It provides the full texture of cheesecake – just like what you’d expect from the dairy versions. And then there’s the topping. It’s tangy and sweet at the same time. Together the three textures mix together perfectly.
A couple hours after I got to enjoy a slice a good friend and her son stopped by on their way home. She loved every bit (which doesn’t really say much for she would go out of her way to not hurt my feelings). Yet her eight year old son just says it like it is. When I offered him a small slice I got the classic “I’m going to get a candy-bar tasting slice of cheesecake” facial expression. Well, he took the first bite and I could read that he was undecided. He took a few more and figured out that it wasn’t like candy. At the half way point he laid the slice over and ate all the crust. Then he took a couple more bites of the body and didn’t know what to do with the topping. Normally, if he doesn’t like something he’ll take one bite and find something else to do. Today, he got through more than ¾’s the slice and didn’t have a bad word to say about it. When I asked how the crust was he said that it was really good.
I take that experience as a definite acceptance of this desert. I really don’t like things too sweet and this one turned mildly sweet.
Overall, I think I’ve found a new way to enjoy cranberries! I would like to send a warm (pink) thank you to Heather for sharing her creation for the world and encourage you to give it a try.
PS. After looking the recipe over closer, I’ve noticed that I did change things up a bit more than I listed above.
Crust – I used Flax rather than oat groats. I used maple syrup (not agave). I also used ½ teaspoon vanilla powder (not liquid).
Filling – I did not use stevia or the orange essential oil.
Topping – I used orange zest and a little more than 3 tablespoons grape juice (note that this was just juiced grape juice!).