Christmas Raw Mango Cheesecake January 05 2015 by Simone Denny
I have always loved mangos. Even during my many years in London where the mangos were flown in from the other side of the world (and tasted like a shadow of a fresh Australian mango), I remained very committed to this beloved fruit!
I remember visiting one of my favourite foodie markets in London and meeting an elderly man, stooped under an enormous basket of mangos. He lent in towards me and told me he had cured himself of cancer by eating mangos every day. Who knows the truth in that but I loved his story and it just affirmed my mango passion even more.
Today I feel so lucky to now live in the homeland of some of the worlds most delicious and fragrant golden mangos. My eyes light up when mango season arrives and I buy them by the box load. This year I thought I’d create a raw mango cheesecake, which has been extremely popular on the few occasions I’ve given it an outing.
Why Make a Raw Cheesecake?
So one may ask – why would you use 3 cups of cashew nuts in cheesecake when you could just make an equally delicious cheesecake out of diary products, sugar and a biscuit base? The reason for this is that I am hugely passionate about making nutrient dense food that tastes delicious but is also nourishes your body, thus providing long term health benefits.
Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses and are an excellent source of protein. Using raw nuts (along with coconut products) in the filling and base of the cheesecake ensures optimal nutrition can be absorbed from the food. Essential enzymes that help the digestive process are destroyed through the heating and processing of food, therefore eating raw food can help our bodies to breakdown food more efficiently (using the natural enzymes in food rather than those created by the body) and thus increase our energy.
Why Soak the Nuts
Many of my recipes call for soaking the nuts before using them and I will explain why. Nature has cleverly designed nuts, seeds and grains to have a protective layer on them to stop them germinating until perfect conditions prevail. This defence mechanism creates a natural toxin (known as phytic acid), which is good for the plant but not so good for us, particularly our digestive systems. It is not uncommon for people to feel bloated or uncomfortable after eating nuts, seeds and grains, and this natural protective toxin maybe one explanation.
The soaking process, as well as dehydrating and sprouting, creates similar conditions to that required for germination, therefore the protective toxins are removed during this process. The soaking process can also increase the number of healthy enzymes and increase the nutritional value and availability of certain vitamins in the nut, seed or grain.
Why use Agar Agar instead of Gelatin?
In this cheesecake I use agar agar in the mango topping, which is completely optional but as a vegetarian (who eats fish) I find this a good alternative to gelatin. On the PETA website they say there is no coincidence that gelatin rhymes with skeleton, as gelatin is literally is made from all kinds of animal bones, cartilage and ligaments (a veggie and vegan nightmare).
What is agar agar? Agar agar is a gelling agent made from cooked and pressed seaweed. It is about 80% fibre and can be bought in flake or powder form. It is quite pricey but does go a long way. The powdered form, which is dissolved in water, is available on the Nourishing Hub. You can replace gelatin with the same amount of agar agar in recipes.
Now that I think I’ve explained the why…here is the how:
Christmas Raw Mango Cheesecake
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
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