by Buffy Ellen
Another weekend, another Christmas do. Is your December shaping up something similar? Although I must confess I do love it, as it's just another excuse to make a delicious new recipe of some sort, and test out the plant-powered goodness on family and friends.
Last weekend we had a big Croatian family Christmas lunch with my partner's family out on the lawn under marquees, and I volunteered to bring a dessert. I wanted to make something that was still reminiscent of a traditional New Zealand Christmas, but also with a plant-powered edge.
Strawberries are in high season here in New Zealand, and are the quintessential addition to any New Zealand Christmas. Those of you in the northern hemisphere will probably find that very strange, and are more likely to be digging into warm Christmas pudding with custard! But in NZ Christmas is all about BBQs, salads and of course strawberries. There could be no other dessert more classic of an NZ Christmas than a pavlova with strawberries and cream.
I wanted to make something similar that incorporated our beautiful freshly picked strawberries as well as traditional whipped cream, but without the eggs and dairy in regular pavlova recipes. There's nothing better than a delicious plant-based raw cheesecake, so thus this summery strawberries and cream version was born.
Strawberry LoveWhilst we normally think of the mighty orange as the king of vitamin C, strawberries in fact contain more of this immune-boosting vitamin. A small 100g serve of sliced strawbs, or 2/3 of a cup, provides you with 59g of vitamin C, 11% more than oranges at 53mg and almost 100% of your recommended daily intake. Some research has also suggested that they have beneficial properties in terms of lowering cardiovascular disease and cancer risk.
In addition, they are one of the lowest Glycaemic Index fruits with a GI of 40, meaning that they have a limited impact on blood sugars. They are therefore good for diabetics or those with insulin resistance, as well as anyone wanting to manage their blood sugars and energy levels. Strawberries are also very low in energy density, which makes them a great option if you're looking to manage your weight.
This beautiful cheesecake looks impressive, but is really very simple to make and only requires a high speed food processor and some nut-soaking time. I have used brazil nuts for my base which added another layer of complexity to the flavours, but you could also use almonds for a more traditional cheesecake base flavour. As this cheesecake contains a lot of fresh fruit via the strawberries, it's best eaten straight out of the fridge, otherwise may melt on your hot summery lunch table if left too long. I've topped mine with whole fresh strawberries, but you could also top it with sliced strawbs and fresh mint which would be delicious.
You can also opt for two separate layers of cream and strawberry, or try swirling the two together as I've done inside. Or if that's too tricky you can add all the filling ingredients together and just make one thick strawberry pink layer. Give it a go this week! And if you'd like to share your beautiful Summer Strawberry Cheesecakes over on Instagram, tag @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come say hello and check out your glorious towering creations. Have a wonderful week.
Makes one 18-19cm (7.5-8 inch) cheesecake with 16 slices
All of the items below can be purchased from our online store, simply click on each ingredient link to add to your shopping cartAlways use certified organic ingredients where possible
Base 1 1/4 c brazil nuts* 1/2 c desiccated coconut 1/2 c medjoul dates, pitted (soak them if using regular dates) Zest of 1/2 a lemon 1/2 tsp vanilla powder 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
Cream Filling 2 1/2 c cashews (soaked 2hrs and drained) 1 c coconut milk/cream** Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 c virgin coconut oil (melted) 1/3 c coconut nectar 2 tbsp cacao butter (melted) 1/2 tsp vanilla powderr 1/4 tsp sea salt
Strawberry Filling 2 1/2 c fresh strawberries (chopped and packed) 1 tsp acai powder OR 1 tbsp grated beetroot*** 2 tsp psyllium husk****
Extra strawberries to top
* You could also use almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. Or do a half half with sunflower seeds which are often more affordable.
**I use Trade Aid's organic fair trade coconut milk in all my recipes. Unlike some coconut milks/creams which separate, this one has a beautiful thick even consistency making it perfect for cheesecakes, as well as using as a pouring cream or in my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream recipe. It's called "coconut milk" but is much more like a coconut cream. You can order it here.
***These are optional, but add a deeper pink colour as well as extra antioxidants!
****If you don't have psyllium, you can use another 1/4 cup of virgin coconut oil here to firm the strawberry layer.
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
PS If you liked this recipe we'd love you to share it on Facebook (hit the like button below), Tweet it, or forward to a health loving friend. And if you make it on Instagram, remember to tag us @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics - we'll be regularly featuring and reposting the best ones on our page.
Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes.
Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.
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I'm Buffy, a food obsessed nutrition nerd, former financial research analyst and investment banker, and now - full time blogger, nutritionist and soon to be naturopath. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my partner Tony, our two cats Zeus and Luna, and our cute-as-pie little girl Mila. Can't wait to share some healthy recipes with you! READ MORE HERE...
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