Dairy Free Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Every fall, I beg Kyle to go apple picking. I act like a 5 year old child, refusing to leave the store without a new toy and stomp around screaming until he agrees. Alright, it's not that extreme, but it is pretty close. We never went last year, so in preparation for Fall 2015, I began my requests last November. No one can say I don't think ahead.

Jonamac Orchard Corn Maze

11 months of work paid off! Getting a few of our friends on my side helped too. We hit the orchards hard, picked a peck of apples and then followed it up with a corn maze (also my demand). By the end of the day, it was insanely cold and I'm confident the maze was done only to appease me. This just confirms that my friends are some of the greatest human beings on the planet. I made sure to document the moment via selfie-stick (thanks, Ashley!) the greatest and worst invention known to mankind. 

We left with a peck of apples to... peck... our way through. Do you see what I did there? I know, I'm so lame. Our finds were the perfect excuse for a new apple inspired dish! 

Another inspiration for this new dessert was my friend Jeana. While we were on a beach in Mexico last week, she decided she was going to try a dairy free life upon return to the States. For the record, I don't recommend making a decision like this while on an all-inclusive vacation and drinks are flowing, but I fully supported her decision then and I do now. Now that we're back, she's making steps to cut out dairy, but there's one main pitfall. The girl loves cheese. Really, who doesn't? It's delicious, but it is avoidable in an equally delicious manner.

In closing (does that make me sound like an attorney?) this new treat is inspired by my super considerate, apple picking, motivated and #dairyfree friends! 


Dairy Free Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Inactive Time: 12-24 hours
Total Active Time: 45 mins
Servings: 8-10 slices

Filling:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked 12-24hrs
¼ cup pure lemon juice
½ cup coconut milk, full-fat
¼ cup + 2 tbs raw honey or syrup
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ tsp vanilla
Crust:
2 cups pecans
1 cup pitted dates
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

Topping:
2-3 Gala Apples
2 tbs butter, ghee or oil
1 tsp coconut sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
dash vanilla
½ batch caramel drizzle
Steps:
  1. In a bowl, cover cashews with water and let soak 12-24 hours to soften.
  2. When done soaking, drain the water and spread out on paper towel to dry. Pat off any excess water. Leave to continue drying until time to use.
  3. Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Press crust evenly into the bottom of your cheesecake dish. I use this springform pan. Set aside when done.
  5. In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients. Process on high for 6-10 minutes (depending on your processor) until smooth. Stop periodically and use a spatula to scrap down the sides.
  6. Pour your filling into the pan on top of the crust. Cover and place in the freezer for about 4 hours until completely set.
  7. Near the end of your freezing time, make the topping. Start by preheating the oven to 275.
  8. Then peel, core and slice your apples in half. Using this apple machine will make it a breeze. Place your slices in a medium sized bowl.
  9. In a small bowl, melt 2 tbs of butter/ghee/coconut oil. Stir in the vanilla, coconut sugar and cinnamon. Pour over your apple slices and toss to coat evenly.
  10. Place the apples in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  11. If you haven't made the caramel drizzle yet, do this now.
  12. When your apples are done, remove them from the oven and cool briefly.
  13. Take your set cheesecake out of the freezer. If you used a springform pan, gently run a knife around the edge before popping the sides off.
  14. Cover the top of your cheesecake with the apple slices as you please, fully or otherwise.
  15. Drizzle caramel across the top. Be sure to lick the spoon so none of it goes to waste.
  16. Slice and serve frozen or slightly thawed.