Let's be clear. This is an ode to, not a recreation of, the pavlova. My mum makes the best pavlova. That, in my opinion, is a fact. It is crunchy and chewy, not full of airy, fluffy soft meringue. Before I cut out sugar, I tried to make it with her recipe but it just wasn't the same. It's been a long time since I have eaten it.
I have such fond memories of sitting on the kitchen counter as a child, licking the beaters and running my little pudgy fingers around the bowl to scoop up all the remains.
But I am happy for it to remain in my memories. It's just too sweet for my tastes these days, but I'd rather keep it perfect in my memories than recreate it into something that just doesn't do it justice.
You would have seen these across our social media, they are the little beauties I created for Raw Galore for the first festive collaboration between Freya's Nourishment and Raw Galore.
Every two weeks in store, a Freya's Nourishment creation is available for you to purchase. Up until now, they have been recipes I have written for this Journal, but this was a new recipe created especially. When Courtney and I were discussing ideas for our festive creations, pavlova was at top of the list.
What do you think of when you think of pavlova? Besides the crunchiness and chewiness. Is it the sweetness, or perhaps the fruit strewn all over it? For me, a pavlova has to be covered in a lot of fruit. Berries are my favourite topping, and kiwi fruit. But passionfruit makes it.
The fresh sweet scent of passionfruit mixed with the vanilla within the pavlova gets the mouth watering before the first bite is even taken.
And that's where this raw cheesecake emulates the pavlova. There is a whole tablespoon of vanilla in this cheesecake. Sure you can use vanilla essence or paste. But that has other ingredients, that mask the pure vanilla flavour that you get from the powder. It is worth finding and using, and is the only kind of vanilla I use.
This recipe makes a larger quantity than my usual cheesecakes, for a very good reason. There is enough to be able to create the peaks and folds at the top, little indentations and dimples to cradle the fruit and emulate the beautiful dessert we all have tucked away in our memories.
Raw Pavlova Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup buckinis
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
3 cups soaked cashews
2/3 cup chilled coconut milk (thick top part, leave behind the water)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup lime juice
3-4 tbsp maple syrup - taste and adjust as needed
1 flat tbsp vanilla powder
1 tsp salt (to taste)
- Blend base ingredients together except the dates.
Once the mix is a fine crumb, add the dates one at a time until the mix sticks together. Some dates are softer and more moist than others. I tend to soak my dates in warm water for 10 minutes first to get the most out of them and so I can use less.
- When you reach a sticky consistency, press the base into your tin, score the base with the back of your spoon to allow the filling to grab the base to prevent gaps between the base and the filling, then place in the freezer to set. If using a large springform tin line with baking paper to make it easy to remove
Note: The buckinis will retain a little texture to provide a lovely little crunch
- Blend all ingredients together until the mix is smooth.
- Pour over the base and set in the freezer - a few hours for individual cakes or overnight for a large cake.
- One of the beautiful things about a raw cheesecake is that it can store in the freezer perfectly well. I tend to make a few different flavours of cheesecakes over a week or two and alternate the flavours from the freezer. They don't take long at all to defrost and to be perfectly honest they also taste great frozen!
- When ready to serve, top the cheesecake with quartered strawberries, blueberries and passionfruit pulp - or your favourite mix of fruit.
Eating well is a form of self respect
Note: You can make this as a large cake or as individual cakes. For individual cakes, the recipe makes 12 and I use a silicon muffin tray. It's the easiest way to get them out, and if raw cakes are your thing I would suggest you start a collection of silicon trays and moulds.