Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No-Bake Raw (But Not Vegan) Cheesecake

This is good!!!

I went to a Raw Milk Symposium last year where I heard Sally Fallon (President of the Weston A. Price Foundation) speak about the benefits of what she calls "real" milk.  The way she explained it was this- raw milk and pasteurized, homogenized milk have the same nutrients.

However, when the milk is heated during the pasteurization process, the enzymes that allow your body to use those nutrients are destroyed.  So, you are not actually getting what you think you are.

Cliff Hatch of Upinngil Farm

I know I'm not the only one to deduce that if this is true for milk, it is probably true for all kinds of other foods.  So, I began to eat raw food.  However, most raw foodies are vegans, and I am not.

At the farm where I get my raw milk, Upinngil Farm in Gill, MA (the name comes from people asking Cliff Hatch where his farm is and him saying "up in Gill.") the cows are like pets.  I have met them, I know their names and I think they like me.  So, I'm happy to consume their milk.
I LOVE cheesecake, so I decided to do an article about making it with raw milk and other raw ingredients.  The best and, in fact, the only one I could find was Sally Fallon's recipe in her wonderful book, Nourishing Traditions.  It's a great recipe and it is the basis for this article.  The only real difference is that her recipe includes raw eggs and we, as a business, cannot recommend that.

Cheesecake is generally made with cream cheese and there are a million different ways to make it.  You can use my directions below, or any other in our book and our kits.  For the most detailed recipe, check the step-by-step recipes on our website by Jim Wallace, our technical advisor.

Raw Cheesecake

(If you will be printing this out, there is a copy-only version at the end of this article.)

Needless to say, you can use goat's milk or sheep's milk,
or any combo.
Making the cheese:

Options:  If you can make any kind of soft cheese or cheese curd, you can follow your usual directions and use 2-4 cups of it in your filling - creme fraiche,* mascarpone,* fromage blanc,* fromagina,*sour cream,* buttermilk cheese,* chevre,* ricotta, kefir cheese, Neufchatel and, of course, cream cheese.  (I am not including yogurt cheese because yogurt gets heated to 180F which is not "raw.")

*Our starter cultures for these cheeses include rennet, so just follow the directions on the packet.  If it calls for 1 packet for 1 quart or one half-gallon of milk, you may still use only one packet of culture per gallon.  That's because, in this case, you are draining it longer and you don't need the curd to be strong.

If using mesophilic, fresh or flora danica cultures, follow the directions below.

Ingredients:
1 gallon raw whole milk
1 packet starter culture
2 drops liquid animal rennet (1 drop if using vegetable rennet)

Directions:
Heat milk to 86F-90F.
Add culture (1 packet or 1/4 teaspoon) (dissolved in 1/4 cup water) and stir.
Add 2 drops liquid rennet or a tiny piece (1/8) of rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/4 cup water, and stir.
Cover pot and keep at room temperature for 12-24 hours.  In summer, it's usually easy to find a warm place and in winter, use whatever method you usually use- yogotherm(s) (my method), pot wrapped in electric blanket, pot in oven with only pilot on (be sure to put a note on the stove so you don't forget it's in there and preheat something), etc.
Pour your curds into a colander lined with butter muslin or cheese cloth.  Hang or do something like I do until the curds feel dry enough- 6-12 hours.  (With one cheesecake, I tried to use the curds after only 2 hours of draining.  This was a mistake, because the filling was too moist and the taste was somewhat sour.  So, I now recommend draining for the full 6 hours at least.)

It isn't necessary to use yogotherms, but I like them because I know they hold the heat.
I used cheese cloth, but you can use butter muslin, if you have it.
Well, this is embarrassing, but I just moved into my house less than a year ago and I don't
have a hook above my sink yet.  Needless to say, it's preferable to hang your curds.
Six hours later, the curds were dry.
The curds from 1 gallon were just enough for a medium-sized cheesecake.
Later, after realizing how delicious this cheesecake is, I got out my large pan and made the cheese with 2 gallons of milk.
I let the milk ripen in the pot.  Then, I simply wrapped the whole thing in a towel and tucked it in the warmest
corner of the house.
Making the crust:
(Depending on the size of your pan, use the smaller or larger amounts.)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups nuts -  These can be any kind of raw nuts in any combination.  Grind them in a food processor.  (If you use almonds or any other hard nut, it's best to soak them and dehydrate them before you grind them.  (This makes them easier to digest.)  Walnuts and macadamias can be used as they are.

1 1/2 cups Medjool dates You can use the packaged ones, but it is much better to use the lush, plump ones sold separately at a food co-op.  If you do have to use the others, you have 2 options-either you can moisten them by soaking them in water or you can keep adding them to the nuts until the crust is moist enough to press into your pan.
1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)

Options- For a chocolate crust, add 1/3 cup raw cocoa.  For a lighter crust, add 1/2 cup shredded coconut.

Directions:
Grind nuts and dates together in a food processor.  (If you have a very small one, do it in steps but mix the dates with the nuts each time (just because it's easier).
Add salt and any of the optional ingredients.
Press into the bottom of your pan.
I had already ground some walnuts so I added them to the dates in the food processor
(it's easier to process the dates when there are nuts in with them)
If possible, get your Medjool dates where they sell them separately (like food co-ops)
because they are usually much moister than the packaged ones.
I buttered the pan, but later realized it isn't necessary.
This is a medium sized pan.  You will need to adjust the ingredients to the size of your pans.
One variation is to add coconut (raw, unsweetened)
Making the filling:

Ingredients:
3 cups of curds
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
2 teaspoons raw vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon agar/agar flakes dissolved in warm water, or 1 teaspoon agar/agar powder

Directions:
Dissolve the agar/agar in 1/2 cup warm water.  You can stir it off and on for 15 minutes, or you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  (It will creep up the sides of your glass, so use a big one.)
Add it to the rest of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into pan and chill in the fridge.
Yum!
You can use agar/agar powder instead of the flakes, if you wish.
Soaking the agar/agar in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes.
My first raw cheesecake.
The second time I added fresh strawberries (from Upinngil Farm) between  the crust and the filling.
The strawberries were delicious, but over time, they gave off juice into the crust, so I would not
recommend doing this unless you are going to eat the cake right away.
This was the huge cheesecake, made with 2 gallons of milk.
This was another huge cheesecake, but raw cocoa was added to the crust and the filling.
This chocolate version would have been better if I had drained the curds longer.
(Even so, it was delicious.)



Recipe for printing:

Raw Cheesecake

Making the cheese:

Ingredients:
1 gallon raw whole milk
1 packet starter culture
2 drops liquid rennet

Directions:
Heat raw milk, raw cream or combo to 86F-90F.

Add culture (dissolved in 1/4 cup water) and stir.

Add 2 drops liquid rennet or a tiny piece (1/8) of rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/4 cup water, and stir.

Cover pot and keep at room temperature for 12-24 hours. In summer, it's usually easy to find a warm place and in winter, use whatever method you usually use- yogotherm(s) (my method), pot wrapped in electric blanket, pot in oven with only pilot on (be sure to put a note on the stove so you don't forget it's in there and preheat something).

Pour your curds into a colander lined with butter muslin or two layers of cheesecloth. Hang or do something like I do until the curds feel dry enough- 6-12 hours.

Making the crust:

Ingredients:
1 - 1 1/2 cup nuts- These can be any kind of raw nuts in any combination. Grind them in a food processor. (If you use almonds or any other hard nut, it's best to soak them and dehydrate them before you grind them. (This makes them easier to digest.) Walnuts and macadamias can be used as they are.

1 - 1 1/2 cup Medjool dates- You can use the packaged ones, but it is much better to use the lush, plump ones sold separately at a food co-op. If you do have to use the others, you have 2 options-either you can moisten them by soaking them in water or you can keep adding them to the nuts until the crust is moist enough to press into your pan.

1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)

Other options- For a chocolate crust, add 1/3 cup raw cocoa. For a lighter crust, add 1/2 cup shredded coconut.

Directions:
Grind nuts and dates together in a food processor. (If you have a very small one, do it in steps but mix the dates with the nuts each time (just because it's easier).

Add salt and any of the optional ingredients.

Press into the bottom of your pan.

Making the filling:

Ingredients:

3 cups of curds
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
2 teaspoons raw vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon agar/agar flakes dissolved in warm water, or 1 teaspoon agar/agar powder

Directions:
Dissolve the agar/agar in 1/2 cup warm water. You can stir it off and on for 15 minutes, or you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. (It will creep up the sides of your glass, so use a big one.)

Add it to the rest of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into pan and chill in the fridge.

5 comments:

723704fe-ac88-11e0-a94c-000bcdcb2996 said...

Thanks for posting that! I'm also a person who likes to do raw as much as possible - but NOT vegetarian or vegan. I can't wait to try this recipe, but I think I'll sub in raw sugar for the agave as I prefer to avoid fructose.

Is there somewhere we can get the version that uses the raw eggs? (I won't tell!)

Thanks again!

Jeri said...

In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon adds 4 eggs and 1 1/4 cups raw milk to the recipe I've used. (She also uses gelatin instead of agar-agar.)

She says to separate the eggs, put the yolks and the milk in a saucepan with the gelatin and warm slightly until the gelatin dissolves.

Add the yolk mixture to the cream cheese, honey (she uses 1/2 cup of honey instead of agave)and vanilla and process until smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, fold into the cream cheese mixture, pour it into the crust and chill.

I hope this helps.

723704fe-ac88-11e0-a94c-000bcdcb2996 said...

Definitely - thanks!

bariolio said...

This sounds really good! I've been having a question about "room temperature" for a long time. Here in the South, my room temp is between 78-80 degrees. Is it okay to let the curds form at this temp or should I place it in an ice chest with a few ice packs to bring the temp to 72ish? Thanks! Can't wait to try this cheesecake!

Jeri said...

That's fine- just leave it at your room temp. and let me know how you like it.