Have you ever tried longan fruit before? I fell in love with it as a teenager, when an Asian friend introduced me to this strange, small fruit, which also goes by the name "Dragon Eye". The sweet, slightly musky flavor was unlike anything I'd ever tasted, and indeed the fruit is native to South Asia, so unless you live there, it's more of an exotic find.
If you can get your hands on some, don't hesitate... paired with cashews in cake form, let's just say... Wow. Longan cheesecake is an absolute must try. No lie, it's a cheesecake like no other -- one of the best I've ever, EVER had.
On the surface, this raw cheesecake looks just like the others you'll find on this blog and in Unconventional Treats, but on the inside it's filled with a most unique, gentle flavor, thanks to the longan fruit. It tastes like a cross between a cheesecake and an ice cream, and has been voted everyone's favorite amidst all the cheesecakes I regularly whip up for my circle of friends.
If you've ever had lychee or rambutan, that should give you a hint about longan's flavor profile (in fact I went many years in the past thinking longan and lychee are the same thing when they're totally not!). You might find it in the tropical fruit section of your grocery (for those in Canada, Superstore carries it seasonally) or in Asian markets.
The reason it's known as "Dragon Eye" is because of its round black seed (as seen in photo above) and translucent white flesh, which does indeed resemble an eye. The seed is hard and inedible, so if you decorate with it, be sure to warn your guests not to chomp down on it by accident ?!
Longan is often sold canned in a sugar syrup type of deal -- I obviously can't recommend using that, as a) this is a refined sugar-free space, and b) fresh longan is so superior to the canned stuff. If you're feeling intimidated by the sound of this unfamiliar fruit for any reason -- don't be! (You may find this wiki video helpful with directions on how to peel and handle longan if it's a new-to-you experience). I promise you, going out and finding some and then making this raw cheesecake will be worth every moment and every penny! You've got my inner cheesecake addict's solemn promise on that one ? -- you're in for a treat.
P.S. One last quick note is that I made it a mini cheesecake (4"), partly because that's all the longan fruit I had on hand to work with, and partly because peeling 20 of these suckers felt like work enough ?, but of course if you wanted to size the cake up you absolutely can (see the cake size download below to help you out with quantities).Print
A unique, gentle raw vegan cheesecake featuring the delicious Asian longan fruit. Gluten-free and refined sugar-free.
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 soft medjool date, pitted
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp agave
- 20 longan fruit, peeled and de-seeded
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a sticky crumble. Transfer to a 4" springform pan and press down into a flat crust. Freeze while working on the next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients in a power blender into a smooth consistency (make sure they're all at room temp first). Pour the filling into the pan over the crust and smooth out the top. Decorate with desired toppings. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. Thaw out slightly, slice and enjoy! (Keep leftovers frozen).
*To pre-soak nuts: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water. For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn’t preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above). Additional Note: the purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you’re interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.