The Believe-it-or-Not Healthy Baked Cheesecake (Chocolate and Caramel)


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This cheesecake really tapped into my bordering-on-insane creative streak.  It started off in my head as a cheesecake, as well as a chocolate cake, but then the chocolate cake kind of randomly evolved into the idea for a chocolate base.  And then there was no turning back.

I have always had the idea for an alternative filling for the traditional 'cheese'cake, but have never got around to putting it into practice.  Today, I rustled up all the ingredients, got the yoghurt separating, and tended to the fire, so there was no excuse.

This recipe does require at the very least a couple of free hours, and a touch of resourcefulness.  This recipe I am providing, although pretty damn close, is still an approximation of what I myself used.  Use this recipe, but not to exacts - if you feel it needs more of something, then bloody do it.  I always have to modify things before I am completely happy with the texture, the quantity, or the taste.  It's all about trial and error, and the only way things are going to work the first time round is to make use of those little gifts god gave to you known as intuition and taste.

There are three parts to this titillating cheesecake - the chocolate base, the caramel sauce and the filling. Make sure you read and understand the whole recipe before continuing, as some segments need to be prepped at least a few hours previously.

The Base:
1 1/2 C red kidney beans (canned or cooked)
4 tbs raw honey
1 tbs vanilla essence
2 tbs cacao powder
1/2 C dessicated coconut
1/2 C almond meal
3 tbs coconut oil

1. Process the kidney beans, cacao powder, honey and vanilla essence in a blender until it's a smooth, thick paste. 

2. In a bowl mix together the almond meal, dessicated coconut and smooth paste.  Use the coconut oil to help incorporate the dry ingredients into the paste.  

3. Once thoroughly combined, press the mixture firmly into a greased or lined shallow baking tray and bake in a moderate oven until it becomes crisp. 

NB: I was originally only going to use red kidney beans for the base, however I wanted it to take on that crumbly, biscuit-y texture of traditional cheesecakes.  The coarseness of almond meal, with the help of dessicated coconut, was perfect to achieve this pleasing mouth-feel while still keeping it moist.

The Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup raw palm sugar
2 tbs organic, raw (if possible) butter
2 tbs coconut oil
200 mL coconut cream

1. Over moderate heat, heat the sugar in a saucepan until it has melted down to an amber liquid.  
NB: Some people say to stop stirring after the sugar starts to boil, and only swirl the pan around a bit, however I am not sure of the reasoning behind this.  As an amateur maker-of-caramel I continued to stir, and I reckon it turned out ok?

2. Add the butter and coconut oil and allow it to melt into the sugar syrup.

3. Take off the heat, wait for a few moments,  and slowly add the coconut cream, whisking the whole time.  The caramel will double in size!
NB: At first I added the coconut cream too rapidly and some of the sugar syrup cooled too much and clumped.  To get rid of the clumps in the caramel I returned it all to the heat until it melted again.

4. I then poured some of the caramel over the top of the already cooked base, to add in another 'layer'.  
NB: You can make the caramel layer thicker than what you can see in the photo, which I will definitely do next time, as there is plenty of caramel to go around.

The Filling:
250g firm organic tofu
200mL coconut cream 
Juice of one or two large lemons 
500mL separated natural, unsweetened yoghurt
1 tbs vanilla essence
2 eggs
1/2 C whole flour (I used brown rice flour)

1. Separate the yoghurt by securing cheese cloth (that has been folded over itself several times) around the top of a pot/container/bowl etc.  Pour the yoghurt over the top of the cheesecloth (it should sit comfortably on top), cover with a lid or plastic and put into the fridge for a minimum of four hours, or preferably overnight.  The liquid component of yoghurt, known as the whey, should have been strained away, leaving a firm, almost cheese-like (hallelujah!), yoghurt behind.  

NB: Do not throw the whey away - it can stored in the fridge for a few weeks and used for other recipes (coming soon...).

2. Blend the tofu in a food processor until smooth.  Add in the lemon juice, vanilla essence, yoghurt and coconut cream, blending again until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. 
NB: Add as much lemon juice as you think tastes adequate.  I used a lot of lemon juice as I wanted the filling to be quite bitter to counteract the sweetness of the caramel.  Lemon juice, in my opinion, is also the number one ingredient imperative to producing a great-flavoured cheesecake!

3. In a bowl, whisk together the two eggs.  Add the liquid ingredients from the food processor, and then fold in the flour.  The filling should still be extremely liquid and mostly smooth.  

4. Pour the filling mixture straight onto the top of the base. 

5. Now to add the caramel.  Pour the caramel, slowly, in a wide swirling motion.  You can be as erratic or creative as you like in this step.  I used a fork to create the (rather obtuse) patterns you see in the photo.

6. Bake in a low to moderate oven for forty or so minutes.  You will know it is ready when you give the tray a little jiggle and the centre of the cheesecake does not jiggle back.

What else could this delectable dessert be served with but ice-cream and gratings of dark chocolate?

My roommates were a little shocked when I presented to them this seemingly insalubrious sweet.  They were even more shocked when I told them the ingredients, and that I actually used sugar and served it with ice-cream!  In all our long history together, no-one has ever seen me cook with sugar.  But how do you make caramel without sugar? And I am a sucker for caramel cheesecake...  
Now that I think about it, this recipe is definitely inspired by my mother's all-famous caramel cheesecake, my favouritest, favouritest dessert as a kid.  However hers is made with triple-choc biscuit crumbs, philly cheese, condensed milk and canned caramel.  I don't think I could ever bring myself to use canned caramel as I prefer to do things "by myself".  Although, next time I will definitely try an alternative-to-sugar caramel - possibly stevia or xylitol, or both, to see how they go.  Don't get me wrong - I am not doing it because I am anti-sugar (well I kind of am, but a little bit of palm sugar every now and again won't kill anyone, right?), but mostly because I just like to experiment!

As this cheesecake is just brimming with high-protein and -fibre ingredients it is extremely filling and satisfying.  One small piece did us just fine.  As did the second small piece an hour after that.  And we couldn't help a third.
The benefits of protein and fibre however is that it lowers the glycaemic load* of the meal, lessening the strain on your poor little pancreas, among other organs.  Fibre also keeps your gastrointestinal (GI) tract healthy and fully functional. 
Most of the fat content in this recipe comes from the coconut oil and yoghurt.  Although this recipe is considerably low fat for a cheesecake, both the coconut oil and dairy products are high in saturated fat, which at present is dramatically stigmatised.  However, saturated fats are predominantly short-chain fatty acids, which a growing expanse of research is finding favorable rather than foe-able.  These fatty acids are rapidly broken down (therefore less prone to be stored in cells), are imperative cellular structural material, and are also beneficial to the immune system.   I will write more on this enthralling topic later. 

Therefore, this cheesecake presents as a balanced, high qual' dessert.  It also serves as a creative outlet for those who pent up their culinary imagination during the week.  Now do you believe me?

*If you do not know what glycaemic load (GL) is - in the nicest way possible, google it


3 Researches REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

This means that you literally burn fat by eating coconut fat (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

These 3 studies from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!

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Original work of Rhiannon Mack, 2012, unless otherwise indicated. Powered by Blogger.