A healthy spin on a dessert favourite, this good-for-you recipe looks and tastes just like the dairy-drenched cheesecake. It’s quick to make, and if you add lemon and poppy seeds, you’ll get an extra punch of flavour.

Makes 10 slices

INGREDIENTS
Crust
1 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup firmly packed chopped pitted dates, plus more as needed

Filling
¾ cup coconut oil (in liquid form)
½ cup full-fat canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup pure maple syrup
3 cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
Pinch of natural salt
Coconut cream, to serve (optional)

Optional boosters
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus more to taste and garnish
1 tbsp poppy seeds
Sweet strawberry sauce, to serve

METHOD
To make the crust: Grease a 23 or 25cm springform pan with coconut oil. Process the almonds and dates in a food processor until the mixture is well combined and clumps together. Form the mixture into a ball; if it doesn’t hold together, you may need to add a bit more chopped dates and process again. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

To make the filling: Throw all the ingredients into your blender in the order listed, including the lemon zest booster, and blend for about 1 minute, until rich and creamy. To achieve the smoothest filing, stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides of the container. Add the poppy seed booster once the filling is completely blended, and then blast for just a few seconds to combine. Pour the filling into the crust. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and freeze the cheesecake for 6 to 8 hours, until solidified.

To serve: Transfer the pan from the freezer to the fridge and defrost for about 30 minutes. Gently release and remove the sides of the springform pan, and then cut the cheesecake into 10 even slices with a very sharp knife. Keeping the slices together on the springform pan bottom, return the cheesecake to the fridge to continue defrosting for another 30 minutes before serving. Serve the slices plain or drizzle each one with 2 tbsp of the sweet strawberry sauce booster and top with a dollop of coconut cream. Pass remaining strawberry sauce and coconut cream at the table.

Note: Because of the coconut oil, this filling will melt if left out at room temperature.

This recipe is an extract from The Perfect Blend by Tess Masters, $35, Penguin Random House. Photography by Anson Smart.

Check out a satay skewers recipe by Tess right here.

the-perfect-blend