The inspiration for this raw mango and passionfruit cheesecake came to me as I was standing in the kitchen with my spoon in a pot of coconut yoghurt. As usual my mind had started to ponder over all the delicious ways I could use it in a recipe, and when the idea of a creamy raw cheesecake started to form, I knew I had to do it!
It’s no secret I love coconut yoghurt. When you find a good one, the texture can be so sublime and creamy, it’s like eating a luscious mousse-like dessert! I also love that coconut is naturally sweet, so even when you choose an unsweetened coconut yogurt, it doesn’t have that sharp yoghurt flavour.
So with coconut yoghurt as my starting ingredient, my aim for this raw cheesecake was to create something tropical and dreamy, that was packed with nutritional goodness and as little sweetener as possible.
I decided to use Coyo’s mango and passionfruit coconut yoghurt as it has the perfect tropical flavour combination and is sweetened with a minimal amount of fruit juice. If you can’t get hold of mango and passionfruit Coyo, simply substitute with any fruit flavoured coconut yoghurt of your choice.
Once I had the yoghurt base, all I needed to add was activated cashews, a little lemon and lime juice to get that cheesecake flavour, and a hint of ginger – because it just goes so well with mango and passionfruit! To get a smooth creamy set I used a combination of coconut oil and raw cacao butter, and the crumb base of brazil nuts and coconut provides the perfect contrast.
To keep this cheesecake low in sugars I used rice syrup as the sweetener, and I’ve given a range of quantities in the recipe below to allow you to control the sweetness. If you don’t have rice syrup, maple syrup or coconut nectar are also great options. To get the yellow swirl I used a little turmeric to colour half the filling mix which I then swirled through with a spoon.
Perhaps best of all, this raw dessert can be whipped up in minutes, and if you put it in the freezer to set it can be ready to go in just over an hour! Enjoy.
What’s your favourite way to use coconut yoghurt in a recipe?
Tell me in the comments below!
Mango & Passionfruit Coconut Yoghurt Cheesecake
Makes: One 10cm x 25cm loaf tin / approximately 8 slices
Prep time: 1/2 hour Soaking time: 4 hours Chill time: 1 hour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch pink Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp rice syrup (or 5 medjool dates)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted
Mango Passionfruit Filling
1 cup cashews, soaked
350g Coyo Mango & Passionfruit Coconut Yoghurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 to 1/2 cup rice syrup (or pure maple syrup/raw honey)
pinch Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Soak the cashew nuts by placing in a bowl and covering with filtered water. Leave to stand for 2 to 4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse well.
Line a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin (or tin of your choice) with a double layer of cling film or a layer of baking paper and set aside.
To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. This method allows the coconut oil to melt without raising the temperature above 46ºC and keeps it in it’s raw state.
Place the desiccated coconut, brazil nuts, ginger and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the rice syrup (or medjool dates – ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until well combined. Add the melted coconut oil and pulse to combine. Press the base mixture evenly into the prepared tin, then place in the fridge to set.
To make the filling, gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the yoghurt, lemon and lime juice, ginger, sweetener and sea salt, and blend until smooth.
Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you will end up with a smooth cream filling. Pour 3/4 of the filling onto the prepared base. To the remaining 1/4, add the turmeric and blend briefly to combine. Pour the turmeric filling in a swirly fashion into the tin and use a spoon to swirl it through further. Place in the freezer to set for a minimum of 1 hour.
If your cheesecake has been in the freezer for more than a couple of hours or overnight, transfer it to the fridge an hour before you want to serve it. Lift the cheesecake out of the tin using the cling film or paper, place on a chopping board and cut into desired number of slices. Place on serving plates and decorate with edible flowers of your choice.
This raw mango passionfruit cheesecake will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month, and once defrosted it will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in this cheesecake filling are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the nuts in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 46ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 46ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw. However high fat nuts like brazil and macadamia nuts don’t show any significant nutritional benefits from this intensive process, so there are no real advantages in activating these.
Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 46ºC. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 46ºC.
Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.
Note on rice syrup: rice syrup is made from fermented brown rice and is completely fructose free. Fructose is the undesirable sugar that our bodies don’t have an off-switch for, meaning we don’t register when we’ve had enough. Our bodies don’t produce fructose and can’t metabolise it into energy (like they do glucose) so it’s sent to the liver which is the only organ that can metabolise it. If the liver is overloaded with fructose it’s then turned into fat and stored. Rice syrup is made up of glucose and maltose which our bodies can easily metabolise directly into useable energy. Rice syrup is quite a mild flavoured sweetener which works well with most flavours.
Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is harvested from maple trees by extracting the sap, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains natural phenols which acts antioxidants as well as small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which is literally empty calories. Pure maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.
Note on raw honey: raw or unprocessed honey is a wholefood sweetener that has a higher fructose content than pure maple syrup but it also contains more antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties too. Raw or unprocessed honey can usually be found at farmers markets and specialty food stores. Most of New Zealand’s Manuka honey is also minimally processed and contains much of it’s inherent nutrients and protective properties. Beware of liquid honey’s, especially the types in squeezy bottles as these have been refined and often don’t contain any beneficial properties.