So I ate a lot over the festive Diwali period. The kitchen was practically overflowing with mithai boxes and tubs of chakri, chevdo and gathiya. It was bloody brilliant but I’m glad to be back to my everyday Gujarati daal, bhaat, shaak and rotli (daal, curry, rice and chapattis). I definitely need a bit of normality in my life before Christmas feasting commences.
A new dessert I made this year was this coconut, lime and cardamom cheesecake with exotic flavours galore. It’s a bit of a play on the traditional Diwali favourite, Coconut Barfi or Kopra Pak. Coconut is one of my favourite flavours in a dessert and there’s nothing quite like freshly-grated coconut in cakes, cookies and cheesecakes. I’ve used it as a topping and in the biscuit base for a double coconut hit.
This is an eggless baked cheesecake and the filling is made with a combination of ricotta, cream cheese and lime. It’s gloriously decadent with a hint of sharpness to cut through the richness of the coconutty cream. The edges of the cheesecake caramelise beautifully and the centre rises and falls just a little for a melt-in-the-mouth dessert that’s best served cold.
Start making this cheesecake at least a day ahead to give it time to cool and set properly. You can make it up to three days in advance and keep refrigerated (the base may lose some crunch though) or make and freeze in an airtight container for up to three months.
For the base:
- 200 g coconut biscuits I use NICE biscuits
- 60 g sweetened desiccated coconut
- 85 g unsalted butter
For the filling:
- 500 g full-fat cream cheese
- 500 g ricotta
- 300 g caster sugar
- 80 ml lime juice
- 300 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 green cardamom pods seeds removed and crushed
- 150 g fresh coconut to decorate
- Combine the crushed biscuits, toasted coconut and melted butter and firmly pat it into the bottom of a 24cm springform tin. Make sure it’s even and tightly compacted. Cover and refrigerate.
- For the filling: in a large bowl, beat together all of the ingredients until it becomes thick like softly-whipped cream. Don’t overmix.
- Spoon the mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base. Smooth the top down.
- Place this in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes, until golden. Don’t open the oven door at any point during cooking. It will drop the oven temperature and the cause the cheesecake to sink or crack. Once the cooking time is up, switch the oven off and leave the oven door closed until it is cold. The cheesecake will still be very wobbly at this stage. Just leave it in the oven.
- Once the cheesecake has cooled down completely (8+ hours), top with the fresh coconut and cover with cling film. Next, cover and refrigerate the whole cheesecake for 8-10 hours before cutting and serving.
Pin it for later!