You might mistake me for being obsessed with sugar if you were to know I have SEVEN different types of it in my pantry at home! How this has come to be, I’m not entirely sure.
I obviously do a lot of baking and need caster sugar, and brown sugar as a standard. My husband buys coffee sugar, though it’s so similar to the demerara sugar we also have in the cupboard, I wonder why he bothers. Then there’s the cane sugar, I think that was given to me as a gift. I use raw sugar in my tea, and just recently, I bought some coconut sugar, because, there’s obviously a shortage here!
Coconut sugar is different. It’s not as sweet as processed white sugars and it has a lower GI, 35 compared with white sugars 60 something. It’s extracted from the sap of blossom buds from the coconut palm.
You’d expect the flavour to taste of coconut but it doesn’t! It has hints of caramel that are subtle and earthy and it’s dark colouring adds a soft brown tinge to any thing it’s baked in. It’s in the base for this coconut and lime cheesecake and in the cream cheese filling too. Although I’m a sucker for dessert, I hate overly sweet ones. What I liked about using the coconut sugar was it didn’t make the cheesecake too sweet. You could still taste the lime AND the cream cheese.
For those who can’t get their hands on coconut sugar you can substitute it in both parts of the recipe with brown sugar (a favourite of mine in baking). But if you like to experiment, I highly suggest giving the coconut sugar a try.
The zest and juice of any citrus fruit will serve you well when flavouring a baked cheesecake. I’ve used lime in this one but you could just as easily use lemons, or tangellos, mandarins, or grapefruit. Just recently, I wrote a recipe for the magazine that used tangellos in the cheesecake filling and it was a huge success.
Success also comes with not over cooking your cheesecake. Any cheesecake I bake generally gets 45 minutes in the oven at 150C. You get perfect cheesecake every time – with no cracks! A slight wobble to a cheesecake is a good sign – remember it will firm up as it’s left to cool.
Lime and coconut cheesecake
For the base
1/4 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
100g butter, melted
For the filling
500g cream cheese
1/3 cup coconut sugar, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
2 limes – zest and juice
1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt
3 tbsp toasted coconut
Pre heat oven to 150C. Line a 23cm square tin with baking paper. Place all the dry ingredients for the base in a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and stir till well combined. Press the mixture into the lined tin. Use your hand to press the base and make an even surface. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove base and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, chop the cream cheese into pieces, place in a food processor with coconut sugar, lime zest and juice and yoghurt, blitz till mix is smooth. Add one egg at a time and blitz between additions till all eggs are incorporated. Pour the cheesecake mix onto the baked base, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp coconut sugar and bake for 45 minutes.
Set cheese cake aside to cool completely. To garnish, sprinkle cheesecake with 3tbsp toasted shredded coconut (optional). Slice cheesecake into squares. Serve as is or with double cream.