Dairy-Free Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake is a decadent dessert made for celebrations. With a crunchy gluten-free hazelnut-cardamom crust, and a custardy coconut-based cheesecake filling, you can’t go wrong with this stunning fruit-topped dessert for Christmas, or any holiday.
How to Make Dairy-Free Vanilla-Pomegranate Cheesecake
The secret to intensely creamy dairy-free cheesecake is a combination of soaked cashews and coconut cream. Together, these plant-based ingredients provide a silky texture and deeply satisfying flavor. The result is a cheesecake that any dairy lover will be glad to dig into.
This cheesecake is also refined sugar-free. Instead, it’s sweetened with pure maple syrup and gooey Medjool dates. The syrup adds a nice warming flavor, while the dates have caramel-like notes that compliment the vanilla in the cake.
For a pop of brightness and to add the signature cheesecake tang, add a tablespoon of lemon zest. If you don’t have lemon, another citrus zest, like orange or grapefruit, would also be delicious.
Hazelnut Cardamom Crust:
- 1½ cups raw hazelnuts
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 3 teaspoons honey
Vanilla Cheesecake Filling:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 4 hours, rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces full-fat coconut cream
- ⅓ cup cocoa butter
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water until soft, then drained
- 8 ounces dairy-free full-fat cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
- Optional garnish: pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.
- In a food processor, combine the hazelnuts, cardamom, salt and dates. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.
- Melt the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the honey and stir to combine. Slowly pour the coconut oil mixture into the food processor, pulsing as you go until the nuts are coated. The mixture should start to stick together. Once you reach this consistency (it will take just a few seconds), transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate, pressing down and up the sides.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling by placing all of the filling ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth and velvety.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and chill in the freezer until solid, 30–60 minutes.
- Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 10–15 minutes before garnishing with pomegranate seeds if you like and serving. Run a sharp knife under hot water for easier cutting. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Hazelnut Cardamom Crust
Cardamom is a tried and true flavor pairing with vanilla. So I had to add it to my nutty gluten-free cheesecake crust. Blending up the spice with hazelnuts and sweet dates yields a truly decadent flavor combination and texture. This hazelnut crust might just become your go-to for all of your gluten-free pie and cheesecake crust needs.
To make this cheesecake 100% vegan and gluten-free, swap out the honey in the crust for maple syrup.
Serving & Storing Vegan Cheesecake
This cheesecake needs to set up in the freezer before serving. For that reason, can make the cheesecake a day or two before serving. If you leave the cake in the freezer overnight, however, you may want to let it temper on the counter for 10 to 20 minutes before serving for easier slicing. Warm a sharp knife under hot water to make cutting easier.
You can store this cake, well wrapped, in the freezer for up to one month. Once it’s set you can keep it in the fridge for 4-5 days. It’s best served cold, as the coconut oil will melt above room temperature.
If you love this gluten-free and dairy-free vanilla pomegranate cheesecake, then be sure to follow along on Instagram, where I’m always sharing my favorite gluten-free treats.