Strawberry cheesecake with toasted hazelnut crust

    What I love about vegan desserts is the freedom you have when making them, no exact measurements needed, easily replaceable ingredients and a practically infinite number of versions of one basic recipe you can create. Not to mention that the ingredients being used are actually nutritious, so you can feel really good about eating them! This cashew cheesecake is very simple to make, you only need a blender and a springform pan.

For the crust:
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted in the oven
- 7 dates
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup/honey (or more)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cashew cheese:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed well
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (preferably the full fat kind)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or more)
- 1 lemon, juiced (or more)
- 1 pinch Himalayan or sea salt

- frozen strawberries 

In a blender, pulse the dates until they start to stick together into a ball shape (if your blender is not very powerful, chop the dates coarsely before adding them to the blender), remove dates and place the toasted hazelnuts into the blender and pulse until minced. Return the dates to the blender, add maple syrup and vanilla and pulse to combine. In a springform pan, press down the crust, reserve.
Clean the blender then add the cashews, coconut milk, melted coconut oil, lemon juice and salt and blend until you reach a smooth, creamy consistency. Taste and add more maple syrup if you'd like it sweeter or more lemon juice, for tartness. Pour the cream over the crust. Decorate with strawberries any way you please. As you can tell from the pictures, I placed one strawberry per slice and I finely chopped a few strawberries that I added in the center of the cake, slightly mixing them with the cream. Place the cake in the freezer and be patient for an hour or two, until completely frozen. Serve partially defrosted. Enjoy!

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