This recipe for a guilt-free Strawberry Cheesecake comes to us courtesy of Megan May. Megan and her partner Jeremy run Little Bird, a raw food brand, based in Auckland. Little Bird began from a dream Megan had to share the potential of high quality, organic, raw foods. Initially Megan enrolled to train as a chef, although not the raw, organic kind. Unfortunately this took a toll on her health and a two-year struggle with serious illness led her to reassess her lifestyle. To restore her health and vitality, Megan began to research new ingredients and ideas and gradually built her repertoire of nutritious, healing foods. Little Bird is the culmination of Megan’s experience and passion for creating high-quality, organic and raw foods. The Little Bird creations are now famous throughout New Zealand, and thousands of people flock to the ‘unbakeries’ in Auckland every week to eat Megan’s food.
One of our favourite Little Bird treats is the cheesecake, free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and completely raw – the array of flavours are all utterly delicious. Megan has kindly allowed us to share the recipe for her Strawberry Cheesecake. It’s our pick for the festive time of year – indulgent but kind to your health. Take advantage of the bumper summer strawberry crop and give this recipe a go, we promise you’ll thank us.
Megan says the key to making a great raw cheesecake is getting the filling really smooth; a good blender will make this recipe much easier. Of course, if you’d prefer, you can always visit one of the Little Bird unbakeries in Auckland and Megan will do the work for you!
RAW STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE
3/4 cup dried coconut (or organic desiccated coconut)
1 1/4 cups brazil nuts or cashews
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup soft, pitted dates (medjool dates work well)
pinch of sea salt or himalayan crystal salt
- Line a 25cm springform cake tin with plastic wrap; it needs to be fully lined with no gaps around the sides.
- Using the metal blade in your food processor, blend coconut into a fine flour. Add nuts and pulse until they are the size of large couscous (you want some texture as this makes for a more ‘biscuity’ base). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the dough holds together when squeeze between your fingers.
- Firmly press the mixture into the base of the cake tin. Set aside.
1 1/2 cups cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours and rinsed)
3/4 cup young coconut flesh from a drinking coconut (this can be replaced with cashews)
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, in liquid form
1/4 cup cacao butter, in liquid form (or replace with another 50g of coconut oil)
1/2 cup coconut sugar or organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla bean seeds, scraped from pod
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries (optional)
- Blend all ingredients for the white filling until smooth in a high-speed blender (be careful not to let mixture overheat). The consistency should be a little thicker than cream. Add a drop more almond milk, if needed, to get it super-smooth. Pour half the mixture over the ‘biscuit’ base.
- Add all ingredients for pink filling to the remaining mix in the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into cake tin on top of the white filling and lightly fold in with a spatula. (Don’t over-mix as you want to create a swirling, two-tone effect.)
- Refrigerate overnight, or freeze for 5 hours until set. (This cheesecake also works well as an ice cream cake served from the freezer).
- Remove cheesecake from the tin, take off plastic wrap and transfer to a plate. Use a palate knife to smooth the outside of the cheesecake, then decorate with crushed freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries