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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand - Mother Teresa

RAW TROPICAL CHEESECAKE SLICE

The occasion of eating out was rare in my childhood, and buying sweets a once a year treat, usually an ice cream. One of my favourites was a Mango Weis’ ice cream bar as tropical fruit meant summer, which we usually ate on our annual visit to the Gold Coast after Christmas. I guess my memories are vivid of the almost royal occasion as I remember my mother declaring to Dad as we drove home in the late afternoon, usually before Currumbin, stop the car at the next take-away dear, it’s time for the girl’s ice cream. We were even allowed the luxury of eating it in Dad’s neat-as-a-pin car. Don’t think for a minute I felt any deprivation for the lack of take-away snacks, my mother was a wonderful cook who in my early childhood served two courses every night at a lovely set table. It’s just that she knew even when you’re fed well at home; a treat can’t be beat at Christmas.

The inspiration for this raw cheesecake slice came from the Mango and Strawberry Weis’ ice cream bars, only made with tropical fruit: red dragon fruit for the strawberries, fresh coconut flesh for the cream and delicious Kensington Pride mangos which Weis’ also use in their ice cream bar. The cheesecake's creamy base for each layer is made from macadamia nuts, a nut grown in tropical climes. I advise you make this raw cake with a food processor, as it is heavy work for even the best of blenders. If a blender is all you have, for the base: blend the nuts first, pour them into a bowl then blend the dates adding the other ingredients a bit at a time until well mixed. A blender should be able to blend the other layers, yet if there is a problem, try blending half the mixture at a time for the coconut and mango layers. I’m guessing for some of you that red dragon fruit is not as easy to find as white dragon fruit, so I’ll let you in on a wee secret. There’s a cheats way to get the colour using freeze-dried strawberry and raspberry powder; use 2 tablespoons and you’ll achieve a beautiful pink colour band between the coconut and mango layer, or use 2 teaspoons of pitaya (red dragon fruit) powder. If you wish to have a straight line for each layer, make sure each layer is almost set before pouring in the next layer. This will mean a wait of 2-3 hours for the coconut layer to set, yet only about ½ hour for the red dragon fruit layer to set. To see if the layer is set, touch the mixture with your finger and apply a little pressure. It is set hard enough to pour in the next layer if the mixture is almost hard to touch. I usually make each layer, and leave them covered with a tea towel on the bench for when the next layer is almost set.

Health benefits:

·       Mangoes contain antioxidants, fibre and vitamin C.

·       They fight cancer, alkalize the body, aid in weight loss, regulate diabetes, help digestion, clean your skin, and make the perfect snack.

·       Dragon fruit boosts your immune system, possesses antioxidants, and is rich in vitamin C and fibres that help provide an overall healthy body.

·       Because of the richness of fibre in dragon fruit, it helps in digestion of food. 

RAW TROPICAL CHEESECAKE SLICE

Makes 22 cm (8½ inches) square cake tin

V, SF, DF, GF

 

For the base:

1 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours

1 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

12 medjool dates, pitted

pinch of salt

 

For the coconut layer:

2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours

½ cup coconut water

½ cup rice malt syrup, adjust to taste

½ cup coconut oil, melted

pinch salt

1 cup fresh coconut flesh, from approx. 2 coconuts

 

For the red dragon fruit layer:

¾ cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours

2 tablespoons coconut water

¼ cup rice malt syrup, adjust to taste

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

pinch salt

¼ cup red dragon fruit flesh (pitaya)

 

For the mango layer:

2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours

½ cup coconut water

½ cup rice malt syrup, adjust to taste

½ cup coconut oil, melted

pinch salt

1½ cups mango flesh, from approx. 1 large mango

 

For serving:

1 small ripe mango, cut into 2 lobes and without skin

1 small white dragon fruit, sliced and cut in half

16 lychees, peeled

4 passion fruit

 Soak the macadamia nuts for the base and fillings in a bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain. Line the cake tin with baking paper, cutting out the corners, and place into cake tin. To make the base, add the macadamia nuts to a food processor and blitz until they resemble crumbs. Add all other ingredients and process until combined and the mixture sticks together. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and press into the bottom and sides evenly. Place in the freezer while making the fillings.

 Place the coconut filling ingredients into food processor and process until silky smooth. Adjust the sweetener to your taste. When checking for taste, remember when a cheesecake is very cold, it needs a bit more sweetener. Pour this mixture onto the base and use the back of a spoon to smooth the mixture until flat. Place into the freezer while you make the next layer. Repeat process for both the red dragon fruit layer and mango layer. Place the cake into the freezer, and leave for at least 4-6 hours to set. Remove from the freezer before you wish to serve. Cut the cake into 16 squares immediately while frozen, arrange on a platter and decorate with fresh thin curls of mango, white dragon fruit slices, lychees and drizzles of passion fruit. Allow the squares to thaw for about 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!