Persimmons have been a mainstay here this season. I can never get enough of these gorgeous fruits. And although they can be the sweetest and most satisfying "dessert" eaten in their natural state, playing up their flavor with a few other ingredients in a sweet treat is also a nice switch up.
This is where tahini enters the picture. Tahini + persimmon creates a rich and flavorful vegan cheesecake, with a hint of something exotic even. Simple and lovely.
Choosing the right tahini for this cake:
Pick a tahini brand you enjoy. It should be hulled (that's the lighter kind of tahini, and it says on the jar usually whether it's hulled or unhulled). And it should be creamy / runny. If you're using a new jar it helps to thoroughly mix up the contents to work any separated oil back into the mixture.
If your tahini is quite thick (especially if you're close to the bottom of your jar..) you might want to just blend it into the cheesecake filling along with the remaining ingredients, rather than swirl it in, to make things easier.
The reason I swirled the tahini in rather than blending it is because I love getting stronger hints of it in bites of the cake, but it'll still be lovely blended in as a general flavor in this cake.
A note on cake size:
The recipe below is for a 5" cake, however in the photos here is a version made in a 4" pan. I mention this because your cake will be just a touch not as tall and the crust will be a touch thinner than what is pictured. But it will taste just as good, if not better, so worry not if it doesn't match the photos exactly :)
On this note, if you'd like to size this cake recipe up or down based on your pan size or needs, there's a handy downloadable cake re-sizing guide at the bottom of this page below the recipe that you can refer to.
Note that this cake is a very small batch recipe if followed as written. This small size recipe works well if you have an older Vitamix blender model (which is what I use), which handles small quantities of ingredients with ease. If you have a larger blender pitcher (new low profile Vitamix or a Blendtec, etc.) you'll need to increase the ingredients and cake size to a 6" cake for things to blend through properly and smoothly.
Oh, but those are details, details... Let's get to the cake, shall we? :)
A lovely vegan cheesecake with the rich and warming flavors of tahini and persimmon. Gluten-free. Refined sugar-free.
*Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before getting started*
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, softened or liquefied
- 1/16 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained**
- 1 small persimmon, rough chopped (97gr)
- 3 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tbsp runny / creamy tahini (hulled)***
- sesame seeds
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a sticky fine crumble. Transfer the mixture into a 5" springform pan and press down into an even crust along the base. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients, except tahini, in a power blender into a smooth consistency. Spoon in some of this mixture into the pan over the prepared crust, then drizzle a bit of tahini, then spoon in some more of the mixture, and a bit more tahini. Continue alternating like this until you run out of the filling mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to even out the mixture. You can use a small skewer or toothpick to lightly swirl the two mixtures together in the pan. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds around the edges.
- Freeze for 5-6 hours to set. Thaw out on the counter for 10 minutes or so and enjoy! (Keep leftovers frozen****).
*It's important all ingredients are at room temperature before getting started, especially for the filling. This is because when coconut oil touches cold stuff it solidifies, which if happens inside your blender or food processor would mean that the mixtures aren't going to get mixed through evenly and can end up chunky or poorly blended. So make sure things like maple syrup or almond milk, etc. are brought to room temperature first.
** 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.
*** The better tasting the tahini, the better tasting the cake will be. Try to use a fresher batch of tahini, so it's creamy and at least somewhat runny for best results here.
**** Treat this cake like ice cream -- it's a dessert that will melt if left out at room temperature too long. Store any leftovers in the freezer.