Chocolate Pecan Crust
- 1 1/2 cups pecans (ideally soaked and dehydrated, but if not don’t worry)
- 2 ounces of raw cacao powder or about 4 Tablespoons
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 4 ounces date paste or about 7-9 large dates, pitted
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon liquid vanilla (I always make my own and add a teaspoon of raw vanilla powder or scrape the inside of 1 vanilla pod.)
To make the crust:
1. Pit the dates and put them into a food processor and process until it becomes a ball of paste. (It will happen quickly)
2. Remove 1/2 the paste (half of the ball) and set aside.
3. Add pecans, salt, vanilla, cacao powder and cacao nibs and process until nuts are breaking down well. Then add the other half of the paste and process until it holds together when you press a bit between your fingers. You will need to scrape down the sides at least once.
4. Assemble your cheezecake pan (10 inch spring-form pan). Gently press the crust evenly on the bottom of the pan. Just lightly compact it by hand, too much pressure will cause it to stick to the pan and make serving more difficult. You want it compact enough so it doesn’t crumble.
5. Set it in the freezer while you assemble the cheezecake filling. You could fridge it too if you are lacking freezer space.
- 3 cups soaked cashews (I soak over night but if you only have a 2 hours it will do)
- 3 cups shredded butternut squash (7 1/2 ounces or so) Yes, raw! You will be amazed! I use my shredder attachment for my food processor. You can also chop into small pieces and blend in food processor to get it shredded.
- 1 cup almond milk ( you can use coconut milk instead).
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, or monk fruit, or honey, or stevia, or coconut syrup optional, you can use any of your favorite alternative sweeteners, even a powder, just use much less. Add slowly, sweeten to your liking
You can also use 25 drops of stevia liquid. I like Vanilla Cream flavor of Sweet Leaf brand. I don’t like sweet but you might.
- 2 Tablespoons liquid Vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (helps with color and is a great anti-inflammatory)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (I often add more to taste, even up to 2 Tablespoons but it depends on your taste buds.)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 Tablespoons lecithin (if you are avoiding this you can add another 1/3 cup of coconut oil or cacao butter!)
- 1 cup coconut oil (or I prefer cacao butter, it gives it more of a chocolate flavor)
Creating the filling
1. Add all ingredients to your blender or large food processor EXCEPT the Coconut oil (or cacao butter) and lecithin. Save them for the end, after it’s blended well.
2. Blend well, until smooth and creamy
3. Stop blending and add the melted coconut oil (don’t let it be too hot, just room temp. or slightly warmer so it’s melted) and Lecithin (or if you’re using cacao butter)
4. Resume blending until the oil and lecithin are well incorporated. Remove 2 cups ish of filling and set aside or in another blending machine. (I often do about 2 1/2, just depends on how much I have, which depends on the cashew portion. I like to make thick cakes and often soak 3 1/2 cups cashews. I tend to like a strong cacao swirl)
5. Remove your springform pan with the crust, from the freezer or fridge.
6. Make your swirl following the directions below.
The Chocolate Swirl(Reserve 2 cups ish of the filling for swirling and add this to it)
- 1 ounce of raw cacao powder (2-3 Tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons liquid vanilla
- Briefly blend these together in food processor and you’re done.
Now to put it all together with the cacao swirl!
Begin by adding some of the pumpkin filling to the middle of the crust in the springform pan.
Next add some of the cacao swirl filling, right on top of the pumpkin filling. Don’t pour too lightly, you want the colored cacao filling to pierce the pumpkin colored filling. Alternate pumpkin and cacao filling until you are done. It will look messy but just wait. When you’ve scraped every last drop into the springform pan, then you get a chopstick. Use the chopstick to gently swirl the two different colors together. You should insert the chopstick just below the surface of the filling, don’t push it down to pierce the crust. Try to make it as balanced as possible so that both colors are evenly swirled. Stop just before you think you should. If you swirl too much you will combine the colors and not get the ultimate swirling effect. 🙂
Garnish with cacao nibs or coconut flakes or both! Or coconut cream!
Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I’d make it the day before. I find it is best after the spices have incorporated more. If you are in a rush you can place in the freezer for 2 hours.
To Serve: Unlock the springform pan. The bottom will detach from the round sides. I often place the entire cake, with the springform pan bottom (which is mostly hidden under the cake), onto a fancy cake serving platter. Take pictures! Serve!