CARDAMOM ‘CHEESECAKE’ WITH BITTER CHOCOLATE SAUCE & BLACK PEPPER STRAWBERRIES
SERVES 6 / PREPARATION 20 MINUTES PLUS OVERNIGHT SOAKING AND CHILLING / COOKING 5 MINUTES
This ‘cheesecake’ is loosely based on one I wrote for my first cookbook My Darling Lemon Thyme. It’s entirely plantbased and is a great make-ahead dessert. I’ve made mine in a slice tin and then cut rounds out to serve, but you can set your cheesecake in whatever tin you like. If you serve slices rather than rounds, this would make enough to feed eight or more people. If you’re unsure about the black pepper in the strawberries, start out with ¼ teaspoon and increase as you see fit. You will need to allow 24 hours to soak the cashews before making. I prefer to use fresh cardamom seeds as their flavour is far superior, but you could use 1 teaspoon ground cardamom if preferred.
FOR THE ‘CHEESECAKE’ BASE
240g (1½ cups) pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
100g (⅔ cups) raw almonds 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
FOR THE ‘CHEESECAKE’ FILLING
375g (3 cups) raw cashews, soaked
overnight in cold water and drained well 185ml (¾ cup) virgin coconut oil, melted 125ml (½ cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice 125ml (½ cup) pure maple syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt seeds from 20 cardamom pods
BITTER CHOCOLATE SAUCE
85g dark chocolate (I used Whittaker’s
64% Single Origin Samoan cacao) 60ml (¼ cup) coconut milk 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
or brown rice syrup
BLACK PEPPER STRAWBERRIES
500g strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
or unrefined pure icing sugar ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract pinch fine sea salt edible flowers, to serve (optional)
To make the cheesecake base, line a 28cm x 18cm slice tin with baking paper, extending up and over the sides by 2cm. Put the pitted dates, almonds and melted coconut oil into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Press the mixture into the tin, using the back of a spoon to pack it in firmly.
Put all the filling ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. If you don’t have a highpowered blender, finely grind the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle first before adding to the blender. Pour the mixture over the base and smooth the top. Put into the fridge for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight to set.