A Delectable Birthday-(Hint: Dessert is Key)

I love birthdays! Maybe I’m an overgrown kid (when they tell me to connect with my inner child, it really isn’t hard), maybe I just like to savor life a little bit extra, or maybe I just like to mark the yearly milestones. Whatever the reason, I really enjoy them. For myself and everybody else.

That said, there have been times when a b-day celebration meant my healthy lifestyle went out the window. And fun as it may have been in the moment, that didn’t make me feel so delectable. This year, I got the birthday of my dreams, and left the weekend feeling bright, vibrant and ready to rock the next year of my life.


Yoga buddies for practice

Good friend for breakfast


Time to relax and reflect

Awesome husband/family/even more friends

Great wine, with a smidge of moderation

The perfect healthy yet decadent dessert

Yup, a good birthday REQUIRES dessert. And I used to love birthday cakes, but you know, it’s no fun if you end up feeling bad after you indulge. So although it meant a stint in the kitchen (my husband cooked the rest of the meal, WHOA), I was thrilled to be in charge of the dessert, and got exactly what I wanted. Even my “regular” husband and my friends’ “regular” husbands loved this creamy treat.

I think it’s gonna be a sweet year.

Be warned, this one is a real dessert. A little heavy on the cashews and coconut. Not entirely quick to make. It was a birthday after all. But you can make them with a slightly easier crust, requiring less equipment and time. I’ll give options.

For me, although chocolate is fine, I almost always love creamy/fruity/custardy/cheesecakey desserts more. One of my favorites is key lime pie. But it’s kind of hard to get that curd-like consistency in a raw dessert. Fine, cheesecake it is! Who doesn’t like cheesecake?

I started with a recipe adapted from Everyday Raw by Mathew Kenney. In this book he has lemon tartlets with a macaroon crust and key lime tartlets with some other crust, but I always have to monkey with the recipe…just a little. Instead of using the key lime recipe, which looked incredibly dense, I used the lemon recipe which I’ve made with success, and subbed lime for the lemon juice and zest, then made my favorite macaroon recipe, lightly adapted from the macaroon recipe in Raw Food, Real World.

A Life Delectable Lime Cheesecake Tartlets, Adapted from Everyday Raw and Raw Food Real World

Crust Ingredients:
1 ½ Cups unsweetened dried coconut
¾ Cup Almond Meal, or almonds pulsed in a food processor till fairly powdery
¾ Cup Maple Syrup (plus tablespoons more if dough is too dry)
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
¼ Tsp Sea Salt

1 ½  Cup Cashews
¼ Cup plus 2 tbsp coconut oil
¼ Cup plus 2 tbsp agave nectar (or less with a big squeeze of stevia)
2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Lime Zest
½ Cup Lime Juice
Pinch Sea Salt


Mix all crust ingredients in a big bowl. If not “gooey” enough, add a tablespoon or two extra maple syrup. The original recipe calls for a whole cup of maple syrup, but that always seems way too sweet to me. Plus, I knew I’d have a diabetic at the table, so I lightened up on the “sweet” where possible.

Press evenly into tartlet pans, 1 large tart mold 4 small molds or cupcake liners. Have a cup of water nearby. If your hands get sticky, dip them in water as you work. I used silicone cupcake liners and ended up with about 12, with a little filling leftover. But I also often use a pan with 12 mini molds, and that’s a little easier to work with. Really though, even little teacups would work!

Dehydrate at 115 for 8-12 hours (yup, that’s the fussy part, you can also just put them in an oven on the lowest setting with the door propped open for say 2 hours.).

After the crusts are dehydrated to your liking (or you’re sick of waiting) put in the freezer to cool and make the filling.

Option A: Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth. It should look like a very smooth pudding.

Option B: Pulverize cashews in food processor until powdery, then add all ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. Do this if you don’t have a Vitamix, Blendtec or similar.

Fill your tartlet shells and freeze for at least several hours. Let sit at room temperature fifteen minutes prior to serving.

I like a little extra lime zest on top. I do not like zesting my fingers.

Final note: If you don’t want to fool with the macaroon crust at all, you could use 1 cup medjool dates 1 Cup cashews or almonds and perhaps a little coconut (1/3 cup? I usually just throw some in, it doesn’t have to be exact). Whir all in the food processor until it looks like a crumbly dough, and press into your molds and freeze before filling. Yummy and easy, no dehydrating required.