Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 12
- 2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter
For the filling:
- 3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel apple topping:
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan or line the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free graham cracker crumbs with melted coconut oil or vegan butter until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan to create the crust. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the soaked and drained cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup or agave nectar, melted coconut oil, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the cashew cheesecake filling over the crust in the springform pan, smoothing it out with a spatula.
Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden and the center is set. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. While the cheesecake is cooling, prepare the caramel apple topping. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Add the sliced apples and coconut sugar, and cook until the apples are tender and caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the full-fat coconut milk and chopped pecans, stirring to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the caramel sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and let it cool.
Once the cheesecake and caramel apple topping has cooled, spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Refrigerate the Caramel Apple Pecan Cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight to set. Before serving, run a knife around the edges of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Slice and serve the Caramel Apple Pecan Cheesecake, and enjoy this decadent and healthy dessert!