Salted Cashew Nutella Cheesecake

Making cashew cheesecake is a far cry from what I am actually doing right now. In my present reality it's an amazing, rainy day in San Diego, and I spent last night eating a colorful Italian salad, that someone else made. I love San Diego, and while southern California might seem like a mosh of a lot of the same, San Diego has always seemed a lot different to me, more like an island and less like a metropolis. 

I've been putting off posting this cheesecake since Easter, which thinking about it wasn't so long ago, but it still speaks to my procrastination/wanderlust style as of late. It really hasn't been so bad for me, I've been to Joshua Tree, and now San Diego, and dreaming a bit of taking a weekender to Utah to see Arches or Zion, which I have hyped up in my mind for years.

And while I've got plenty of pictures to post from these trips, and glad I got out to do them, I'm am so looking forward to going home and seeing the dogs and catching up on my photography courses, and settling into a routine once again. And while meeting lots of people recently who are traveling from all over the world for months at a time, makes me think I should too, I soon realize I'm a bit of a sucker for routine, dogs sleeping in the bed, homemade espressos, and vegan-ish cheesecakes.

Here's what you'll need (slightly adapted from this recipe from Earth Balance):

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup hazelnut meal or finely ground hazelnuts - used whole nuts and pulverized them in my Ninja
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

For the Filling:

  • 2 teaspoona of salt
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and strained with clean water
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 6 tablespoons Nutella - use cashew or hazelnut butter to make it vegan
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup of coarsely ground hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup of Nutella - again use alternative to make it vegan, peanut butter, hazelnut butter, or cashew will work. 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

 

Directions:

  • If you need to blend your hazelnuts, do that first while they're dry with no ingredients. Blend them to a fine powder and add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Press the mix firmly into the base of tart pan, and set in the freezer.
  • For the filling make sure your cashews are clean and drained and blend them well with the water and salt. Blend until smooth. It'll begin to take on the texture of a cheese, like marscapone, that's when you'll know it's blended fully. Add Nutella, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Blend well and then put on top of the base. Replace in the freezer.
  • For the topping, mix Nutella, sugar, and salt over a double broiler for 2-4 minutes, until well blended.
  • Take your cheesecake out of the freezer, add chopped hazelnuts, and drizzle the topping over the top with a spoon while it is still warm. Let the whole thing set in the freezer for 2-4 hours.
  • It should set in the freezer for at least an hour, and I like it better cold, but it will hold at room temperature.