One thing I love about living in tropical Far North Queensland is the abundance of delicious produce grown here. I love that I can go to the local markets and buy locally grown coconuts (and coconut oil), locally grown vanilla beans and cacao nibs and cacaco beans, luscious limes, macadamias, avocadoes, pineapples, lychees, passionfruit, mangoes, and I’ve even bought sugar cane juice that’s juiced while you wait! Even better, lots of these yummy things are given to you by friends, family and acquaintances who just have too much and need to share. Love that.
Last week I did a Thermomix demo for a lady who sent me home with a big bag full of limes and bunches of fresh herbs and rocket from her garden. At other times I’ve come home with a box of vine ripened tomatoes, pumpkin, avocadoes, lychees and mangoes. I get given bags of passionfruit, boxes of black sapotes, chokos and lettuces. I always say to my husband, ‘There’s really no way you could starve living here. Why would anyone want to live in the city??’ Besides, where in the city can you walk around the corner from your house and see views like this…
But I digress… back to the cheesecake.
So the other day I thought I should make something with some of the limes filling my fruit basket, and the avocados from mum’s tree. I really wanted something a bit special, as I had a photo shoot with an online magazine on Friday (Confetti Mag – 1st issue, coming out in May, stay tuned!), and I thought something made with local ingredients would be a good thing to photograph. (We ended up choosing something else to make, and we had lots of fun cooking and taking photos! Two of my favourite things to do.)
I remembered a lime and avocado tart I’d made last year and really enjoyed, but I felt it needed to be creamier and less… well… tart! Okay, I know ‘raw lime cheesecakes’ are all over the internet and I didn’t really need to make up another recipe, but I just like to play. I did get some inspiration from this lovely raw lime tart from Fragrant Vanilla Cake (a blog you really should visit if you’re into raw food, vegan food, or just delicious desserts) – but I ended up changing it to make the most of some of our lovely local produce, plus whatever I had on hand.
It turned out amaaaaazing!!
My husband is very partial to a good cheesecake, and was very sceptical that my dairy free version would be something he’d want to eat… But after one bite he changed his tune and begged for more.
I had a lot of ‘drop-ins’ that day, and each one had to taste my cheesecake. I made them. (They didn’t argue.) They all agreed it was a gem of a recipe, and they all told me I should save it for my book. But being the kind and generous blogger that I am, I dedided to go ahead and share it. And besides, I was a bit worried that after getting 235 comments on the photo I posted on Facebook, plus many private messages, asking for the recipe, I might have a riot if I didn’t share!! (But I will have to start being a bit more secretive with new recipes I think, or there won’t be any surprises left for the book!)
Consider this your Easter present from me. I think it would make a great Easter Sunday treat… because as much as I love chocolate, it can get a little ‘overdone’ at Easter time. I’m thinking lime will be a good change.
So here it is, the long-awaited recipe…
Oh, and just a couple of tips: buy the macadamia pieces, they’re heaps cheaper than whole nuts and you don’t need whole nuts for this recipe. And use organic or homegrown limes if possible, as you don’t really want to be eating the zest from limes sprayed with pesticides. Just my opinion.
- 130g raw macadamia nuts (either unsoaked, or soaked and dehydrated)
- 70g organic shredded or flaked coconut (additive free)
- 8 fresh dates (eg. Medjool), pitted
- a pinch of fine Himalayan salt
- 2 vanilla beans, snipped into 4 pieces (can use 1 bean in a pinch)
- zest from 2 limes (just peel off with a sharp potato peeler)
- 150g raw cashews*
- flesh of 1 lime
- 320g fresh avocados (or frozen, cut in 1-2cm cubes)
- 100g pure maple syrup
- 55g coconut oil
- a pinch of fine Himalayan salt
- 150g raw macadamias (soaked for a few hours, then drained and dried off a bit)
- 150g Ayam coconut cream (or other thick coconut cream)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- juice of 1 lime
- 30g pure maple syrup
- a good sized handful of macadamia nuts, roughly chopped (if you haven't bought them already in pieces)
- zest of one lime, grated with a zester
- Grind all the base ingredients up together in the Thermomix on speed 9 for 20 seconds, or until finely ground.
- Grease the inside of a 20cm springform cake tin with coconut oil. Press the base mixture firmly into the base of the tin, and up the sides if you like. Set aside.
- Blitz vanilla beans and lime zest on speed 10 for 10 seconds.
- Add cashews and grind on speed 10 for 8 seconds.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend on speed 9 for 1 minute, scraping down as needed, until lovely and smooth.
- Pour filling into springform tin, spreading over the base. Place in freezer for at least half an hour.
- Mix together all ingredients for the topping until smooth on speed 9
- Pour over filling and smooth with spatula.
- While topping is still soft, before freezing, add extra macadamia nuts and lime zest for decoration, sprinkling first the nuts, then the zest, around the edge of the cheesecake. (See photos)
- Place the finished cheesecake, covered with a plastic bag, in the freezer and leave it alone for at least 2 hours, preferably more. It's best eaten semi-frozen.
- If using soaked raw cashews, only soak for up to 6 hours, drain well and pat dry with tea towel, then mix with the other ingredients (lime, avocado, etc) all at once, blending until smooth.