Tahini and orange blossom: 2 flavors one might commonly find combined in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisine. 2 flavors one rarely meets together elsewhere. 2 flavors I absolutely adore and rely on plenty in desserts. 2 flavors that haven't met in a dessert on this blog yet... Enter this easy peasy tahini cheesecake.
A bit of a derailment, but did you know that I used to hate tahini? I know, how odd, since I major at being a tahini addict (and minor in being a tahini snob ?)... But there was a day I just didn't understand it. At all. It seemed bitter, and strange, and ...pasty... and mouth puckering... So what changed? I think for one my palate matured a bit. But mostly I learned to pick the right kind of tahini for myself, and learned how to pair it with the right flavors. And now it seems I've done a full 360 and my pantry is never devoid of tahini. Give me a jar of good tahini & a spoon, and I'm a happy camper. Or just give me this cake and I'll be good too...
For a recipe like this you want to go with a creamy hulled tahini. Choose a variety that you love and go with that. Unhulled tahini would make this cake bitter and unpleasant, so not recommended. If your tahini is super runny, you may want to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the recipe to help the cake firm up more.
As far as flavor pairing goes -- I find tahini tastes wonderful with something tangy or citrucy. In this recipe I went with lemon juice and also a dairy-free yogurt. The combination balances the tahini flavor nicely and adds a beautiful "cheesecakey" touch.
What I love about this recipe most though (besides the fact it's super easy to make, delicious, and features some of my favorite flavors) is the fact that it's a raw-style cheesecake made without dairy, gluten & grains, refined sugars, but also without nuts and added oil. Win-win-win-win-win... for all those nut-free & oil-free recipe requests.
P.S. As per the usual lately, this recipe is for a small 4″ cake. Triple (thinner) or quadruple (taller) for a 6″ if you prefer. I used this pen tool to create swirls on top (though you can just spoon some over or use a pipping bag instead if you prefer).
P.P.S. For tips on how to make these types of cakes like a pro, check out my book Unconventional Treats.Print
A simple, raw nut-free cheesecake combining the exotic Mediterranean tastes of orange blossom and tahini. Vegan and gluten-free.
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (or almonds, cashews, etc. if not nut-free)
- 4 soft medjool dates, pitted
- ½ tbsp agave
- ½ cup hulled tahini
- 6 tbsp non-dairy yogurt of your choice (I used agave-sweetened soy yogurt)
- 4 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp orange blossom water (or more for a stronger flavor)
- a few tablespoon extra of non-dairy yogurt for swirls, edible white mums, a few sprigs of non-edible baby's breath flowers. Or use other edible flowers, such as rose buds and petals.
- Process all crust ingredients into a sticky crumbly mixture. Transfer into a 4" springform pan and press down into an even thin crust along the base and ¾ of the way up the walls. Freeze while working on the next step.
- Blend the filling ingredients into a smooth mixture (a power blender works best). Pour this mixture into the pan over the crust and smooth out the top. Swirl in some of the topping yogurt over the top and freeze for 5 hours or overnight for the cake to set. I decorated my cake with edible fresh flowers prior to serving, but if you're using dried flowers / petals, you can decorate with them before you freeze. Slice, serve, and enjoy! Keep leftovers frozen.