The healthiest and simplest thing you can do for yourself is to eat seasonal, whole foods. By this point, we’ve learned that much. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily follow that mantra—there’s many a hurried workday when we end up with a Styrofoam takeout container of Thai food for lunch followed by a dinner of movie popcorn. As inconsistent as we are, there are people who make eating well (and making food that is healthy but never boring or bland) look ridiculously easy. Take sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the London-based foodies who are masters at seasonal nutrient-dense cooking that also, gasp, tastes good. Every Tuesday, Hemsley & Hemsley will be back with a new, easy-to-make recipe perfect for al fresco summer dinners (rosé not included) and packed lunches alike. We’re hereby limiting our popcorn dinners to a once-a-month max.
Packed full of goodness and lightly sweetened with raw honey, this is our take on a New York-style cheesecake. Free from refined sugar, flour, vegetable oils and dairy, this superfood dessert of avocado, limes and coconut oil will leave everyone wondering how anything this tasty can be so nutritious. We won't tell if you don't!
The creamy, lime-flavoured mousse sits on top of a nutty, chocolaty base made from toasted pecans, cacao nibs and coconut bound together and sweetened with dates; it's good enough to eat on its own.
Unlike most raw and dairy-free cheesecakes, the topping is completely free of nuts. For anyone with a tree nut allergy, just swap the pecans in the base for sunflower seeds. For delectable little dessert canapés, try making these into little squares, or spoon the avocado lime mixture into small glasses, crumble over the base mixture and drizzle with a little melted 85% dark chocolate for a ‘deconstructed’ take on the traditional dessert.
Use Organic where possible
FOR THE BASE
125 g pecans (preferably ‘crispy’ activated)
45 g desiccated coconut
70 g cacao nibs
185 g pitted dates
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
FOR THE FILLING
560 g avocado flesh (from about 5 medium-large avocados)
200 ml lime juice (roughly 8–10 limes)
1 tsp lime zest (avoid the bitter white pith)
190 g raw honey
175 ml coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
a few drops of stevia, to sweeten (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to fan 150°C/300°F. Line the base and sides of a springform or loose-bottomed 7-inch round cake tin with baking paper.
2. Toast the pecans and desiccated coconut on a lined baking tray in the oven for 7–8 minutes, until golden.
3. Transfer the pecans and coconut to a food processor and add the rest of the base ingredients. Blend until the mixture is crumbly and holds together when pinched (don’t let it go completely smooth).
4. Tip the base mixture into the prepared tin. Press it down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon, ensuring it is neat and flat where it meets the sides of tin. Transfer to the fridge while you prepare the filling.
5. Place all of the ingredients for the filling into a food processor and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and silky. Check for taste and add more lime juice, zest or sweeten with a little more honey or stevia according to preference, but it’s best to keep this deliciously tangy.
6. Remove the cake tin from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Cover the tin, using a plate, and return it to the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight, if possible, to set.
7. To serve, run a knife around the inner edge of the tin and carefully push the base up from the bottom. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
There's more where that came from in Hemsley & Hemsley's cookbook, The Art of Eating Well.