We're in the month of love, and that always gets me thinking about either strawberry (or pink) desserts or chocolate. Chocolate desserts have to be my all time favourite to look at, to create, to make...but I'm not actually much of a chocolate eater. I know some of you will disown me for that but meh, it works well for you right?!
I'd take savoury over sweet but if I go sweet it would be fruity or lemony. But since I was a kid I loved making chocolate things. One year I chose the chocolate making show bag from the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It had moulds, chocolate for melting, brushes and all sorts of things in it and I probably sent my poor mum around the bend making chocolates for everyone. Barely ate them, but the kitchen counter was full. White, dark, swirled with colours. All shapes and sizes. I still to this day have a bag full of chocolate making moulds. But with Easter coming up.....hmm now that's got the cogs turning!
Obviously this is lovely at any time throughout strawberry season. Which really, given the amount of varieties we have now, that would be all year round. But when you make raw strawberry cheesecakes, the colour really isn't that vibrant. And the strawberries I used in this were red right through to the centre. So I always add a little (up to a teaspoon) of beetroot powder to give the colour an extra boost. And of course it adds some extra vitamins which is a bonus.
So tell me, for Valentine's Day are you a strawberry or a chocolate lover?
Raw Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
Makes 12 muffin sized cakes or a 20cm cake
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups soaked cashews
1/2 cup chilled coconut milk (thick top part, leave behind the water)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup orange juice plus 2 tbsp extra (see method)
3/4 punnet of strawberries (190g)
2 tbsp maple syrup - adjust to your tastes
1 tsp beetroot powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- Blend base ingredients together except the dates and cacao nibs.
- Once the mix is a rough crumb, add the dates and process until the mix sticks together. Then blitz through the cacao nibs so that they do't lose all their texture. 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 moulds, divided evenly amongst the muffin moulds if using. If using a large springform tin line with baking paper to make it easy to remove (best cake tin to use is a silicone one. No need for lining and the cake comes out of the tin very easily)
Note: The cacao nibs will retain a little texture to provide a lovely little crunch
- Blend all ingredients together except the strawberries, beetroot powder and extra orange juice until the mix is smooth.
- Take out half the mix and place in a bowl. Add the strawberries to the remaining mix in the blender and blend until smooth. Add the beetroot powder - make sure to sieve it, or you will end up with speckles of red through the mix.
- Add the extra orange juice to the white mix in the bowl. This will thin it down slightly to match the consistency of the strawberry mix, as the strawberries will water down the mix a little.
- Divide the strawberry mix evenly into your muffin moulds, or pour into your lined cake tin.
- With a spoon, make a dent in the mix and fill with the white mix. Swirl the two colours together with a teaspoon.
- Set in the freezer - a few hours for individual cakes or overnight for a large cake.
- These will last a week in the fridge or four weeks in the freezer.
- For Valentine's Day, top with heart shaped chocolates with freeze dried strawberries or raspberries sprinkled through, cacao nibs and rose petals.
Eating well is a form of self respect
If fruit based flavours are your mistress, you may also enjoy these recipes: