Dairy-Free, Raw Lemon Cheesecake

7 years ago Archive 0


Graduation is a beautiful, pivotal moment when old chapters close and new ones open.  It is mascara-stained cheeks and nervous laughter.  It is the goodbye to former teachers and hello to future professors.  It is the photo of me and my best friend wearing our white caps and gowns.  It will hang on my dorm room wall above my bed.

It is the hope that everything in life will go well, and the realization that changing your mind is 100 percent acceptable.  I do not have all the answers at 18 years of age and never will.  Graduation is everything, every emotion all at once.  As my high school nudges me forward, I fall into the loving arms of my chosen university.

In two weeks’ time, I will walk up on stage, receive my high school diploma, and turn the tassel on my graduation cap from right to left.  Everyone will tell me, “That’s it! You’re done!  You did it!”  But is it really the end?  Am I really done?  I hope not.

For the rest of my life, I will cherish all my high school memories, including the ones spent inside the confines of my high school campus.  I never want to forget how good high school treated me.  It pushed me to achieve my academic goals, while giving me room to spread my wings and explore my personal passions.  Now, four years after freshman orientation, I am so blessed to be sitting in exactly the position I always hoped to be in.

One of my toughest, emotional challenges will be leaving CTeen behind.  Through Chabad of Basking Ridge, our CTeen chapter, and the entire CTeen community, I have been able to find and explore my Jewish identity.  But at the same time, Chabad is the reason why I am not utterly terrified for the countless unknowns ahead of me.  Do not get me wrong, I am still scared, still nervous about classes and meeting an overwhelming number of new faces.  But, I am also at peace.  From the moment I walk onto campus, I will automatically have a built-in family, a safe, warm, loving place where I can become the best version of myself and share my passion for Judaism with my peers.  It is a place where I can continue to feed my Jewish soul.

So, is it the end?  Absolutely not.  High school and CTeen are permanently etched in my heart and will live on through nostalgic memories.  But, college?  College is merely the introduction to adulthood, the kick off to the rest of my life and my spiritual journey ahead.

Thank you so much Leigh and the rest of CTeen Connection for making this year amazing!  Happy Shavuot!



Danielle Collins




Dairy-Free, Raw Lemon Cheesecake

It is a tradition on Shavuot to have a dairy meal.  However, there are many people who are lactose intolerant but still want to partake in eating creamy, delicious sweets in celebration.  This cheesecake recipe is a perfect substitute because it mimics the classic dessert, but is healthy, raw, and 100% dairy-free.


Ingredients (Crust)

3 ounces raw walnuts

1/2 cup dried, pitted dates

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt


Ingredients (Filling)

2 cups cashews (pre-soaked in water for 2 hours)

Juice and zest from 1 large lemon

4-5 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt



1.) Line a small cake pan or a bread loaf pan with parchment paper.

2.) To make the crust, pulse the walnuts, dates, vanilla and salt in food processor or high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix).  Continue pulsing until the mixture has no large nut or date fragments and begins to clump.

3.) Then, take out the crust dough and press into the bottom of the lined pan.  Place this pan into the refrigerator during the filling preparation.  Clean out the food processor or blender.

4.) For the filling, add the pre-soaked cashews, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to the food processor or blender.  Turn the machine on its highest setting (if applicable).  Blend until a creamy consistency and desired taste is reached.

5.) Take out the pan from the refrigerator.  Add the lemon filling on top of the crust.  Place the cheesecake back into the refrigerator to set overnight or put in it in the freezer for a couple of hours until the cheesecake filling is firm.

8.) When serving the cheesecake, cut into slices or squares depending on the pan shape.  Add some fresh, seasonal berries for a colorful presentation.  Enjoy!