6 tbsp. non-dairy butter, cubed (I like Earth Balance brand)
Vegan Cheesecake Filling
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2-3 hours
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (in the can, not in the carton. You need full-fat so it sets up correctly)
1/2 cup maple syrup
Maple Caramel topping, optional
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon almond butter (peanut or other nut butter will work too)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place 2½ cups pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add butter and pulse until mixture is finely ground and resembles wet sand. Press the pecan mixture into a well-greased or parchment-lined 8 X 8 pan. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside until cool.
Place the drained and rinsed cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, and maple syrup in a high-powered blender and puree until creamy and smooth. This process may take up to 5 minutes, depending on the power of your blender. Pour cheesecake filling on top of crust.
Chop the remaining 1/2 cup pecans and sprinkle on the cheesecake.
If using maple syrup topping, combine the maple syrup and almond butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until thick, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla extract and sea salt and let cool slightly. Drizzle over the cheesecake topping.
Place in the fridge/freezer for at least 4-6 hours until firm. These will set up better in the freezer but will need to thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes until ready to cut.