Like every other beautiful thing in our lives, love is definitely worth celebrating more than just once a year. Valentine’s Day is not just a celebration of love, but it’s also one of hope in everything that is right and beautiful. Over here, we have only celebrated Valentine’s Day for about ten years, but we have the lovely tradition of Dragobete, a rural feast dating back thousands of years ago. It is celebrated on February 24th, and it’s about the beginning of spring, often referred to as “the day when birds are betrothed”. From this date until the end of the first week of March, women in my country wear thin red-and-white ribbons as bracelets or brooches to celebrate the legend of Dragobete.
I’ve always loved legends and myths, and the ones from our countryside are really beautiful. Our folklore is an incredible combination of pagan and Christian beliefs, resulting a fascinating web of colorful traditions. They all symbolise the victory of good over evil, just like Dragobete represents the victory of reviving spring over the harsh winter. Having spring in mind, I decided to pay a tribute to our beautiful tradition with this delicate raw cheesecake, pure and healthy, with the colors of tree blossoms. And you’ll definitely see me wearing the red-and-white ribbon until spring really takes root!
I can’t imagine anything easier than preparing a raw dessert – as always, the simplest things are the most spectacular. You’ll only need good-quality, organic, raw ingredients, and a powerful food processor, and the rest is just about playing with shapes, tastes, and textures. Not only do raw desserts keep you away from refined sugar, but they enrich your diet with healthy oils, minerals, and vitamins.
The main ingredients for raw desserts are pretty much the same – dry dates, coconut oil, coconut milk, raw honey, fruits, all sort of seeds and nuts, and other ingredients for flavor and color (raw cacao powder, maca powder, turmeric, spirulina). It isn’t much, but the combinations are very versatile and you can recreate a lot of classic dessert recipes into a more healthier version.
This layered cake contains only six ingredients – dates, cashews, almonds, coconut milk, lemon, and blueberries. The taste is light and fresh, and I simply cannot think of any color combination more suitable for a celebration of love and spring than this pale lilac and white one.
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 lemon, juice only
- ½ cup coconut milk (use homemade for the raw version or full fat for the vegan one)
- 2 tbsp organic raw honey (or raw agave nectar for the strict vegans)
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup dry pitted dates, soaked overnight
- ½ cup raw almonds
- Line a round 6" pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make the crust first - place the dry pitted dates and almonds in the food processor and pulse to obtain a sticky mixture.
- Spread the mixture into the pan and press it to evenly arrange.
- Drain the cashews and place them in the food processor along with the lemon juice, coconut milk and raw honey.
- Process to obtain a smooth cream.
- Pour the cashew mixture in the pan on top of the crust, and spread evenly.
- Place the blueberries (optional - add a teaspoon of honey or agave nectar) in the food processor and pulse to obtain a puree.
- Top the cheesecake with the puree, cover and freeze for at least 3 hours.
- For serving, let it stay at the room temperature for 15 mins until it can be cut easily.