Perhaps you, like me, scroll through some too-beautiful-to-eat-but-I-still-want-to-lick-my-computer-screen photos in your instagram feed. Maybe, like me, you thought you could never actually craft something so stunning in your own, non-instagram-friendly kitchen with a blender that has seen better days.
Good news: if I can do this, you can do this! I adhere to the goal of simplicity in my recipes, and even if the appearance of this cheesecake belies that.
I also find myself transported to a calmer, almost meditative space when I make this Paleo Lemon Cheesecake, because it feels like baking therapy. The recipe providing the magical alchemy of batter turning into cake, but no actual baking is required.
About the ingredients in this Paleo Lemon Cheesecake
Macadamia nuts — I prefer the flavor and nutrient profile of macadamias for this recipe. Macadamia nuts contain the least amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can be inflammatory in high amounts. I also find that macadamias are better tolerated than other tree nuts in general. But feel free to use 1/2 cup of any other nut or seed in place of the macadamias.
Shredded coconut — Be sure to use the finely shredded option.
Canned coconut milk — It must be full-fat, and it must be canned. You are going to scoop the cream that rises to the top, which is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the contents. Leave behind the water in the can, you can use this flavorful liquid for smoothies.
Gelatin — Most dairy-free cheesecakes rely on a blended filling made with what I find is an ungodly amounts of cashews. This can be digestively challenging for many people with sensitive guts. And even for those with steel stomachs, post-cheesecake gas often ensues. I use a combination of coconut cream and gelatin to create the creamiest, cheese-cake like texture.
Nut-free Note: To make this cheesecake nut-free, use 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds for the crust in place of the macadamia nuts. This recipe still contains coconut, which is not a tree nut.
- ½ cup raw or dry roasted macadamia nuts (2.25 oz by weight), available here or 2.25 ounces sunflower seeds for nut free
- ½ cup finely shredded coconut, available here
- ½ cup pitted mejool dates, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, available here
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1¾ tsp. grassfed gelatin, available here
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cans of coconut milk, allowed to settle undisturbed for 2 days, available here
- ¼ cup raw honey, available here
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- You'll need a 6" or 7" springform pan, available here, for this recipe. See note below.
- To make the crust, blend all ingredients until you have a sticky mixture. I use and recommend this blender, which is a fraction of the price of a Vitamix. It will not be a smooth puree, and will still have some texture from the finely-chopped nuts.
- Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the springform pan.
- To make the filling, leave the cans of coconut milk at room temperature, undisturbed for a couple of days. This allows the cream to settle to the top. Open the cans and remove the cream, leaving behind the watery liquid.
- In a small saucepan, pour the gelatin over the lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then, place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
- With an electric mixer, combine all the filling ingredients (including the coconut cream) with the lemon/gelatin mixture. Pour over the prepared crust.
- Chill the cheesecake overnight, or for at least 8 hours.