ĀREPA NEUROBERRY VEGAN CHEESECAKE WITH PŌHUTUKAWA JELLY
Serves 12 - 16
What if you could serve up to the people you care about a sugar free, gluten free, dairy free vegan cheesecake that tastes better than any other cheesecake you’ve ever tasted in your whole life?
Well, now’s your chance! And not only that. This vibrant, tangy cheesecake will make you more energetic and brainier too! The filling is loaded with Ārepa Brainfood Powder, the jelly made from Ārepa beverage and it’s finished off with a hefty scattering of crunchy Neuroberries.
I can’t sing Ārepas praises high enough. Are you feeling a little weary? Lost in a covid brain fog? Have you misplaced your get up and go? Nootropics is the new buzz word for foods that enhance your cognition. Quaff on a glass of Ārepa’s lite and sparkling or performance brew, chuck a few tablespoons of the nootropic brainfood powder in your smoothie and crunch on a handful of Neuroberries and you’ll be good to go. And go. And go. High in both Vitamin C and flavonoids, Ārepa products are scientifically proven to enhance cognition support mental stamina when fatigued. There’s no sugar, no caffeine, no nasty colouring or preservatives. Just pure and natural NZ black currants, pine bark extract and L-Theanine magic. Genius.
I am in awe of how magnificent the Pōhutukawa blooms are this year and wondered if they were at all edible. Thanks to Peter Gordon sharing his vast knowledge of all things food with me, you can, if you have access to a tree, make a Pōhutukawa jelly as part of this recipe. If you’d prefer to just gaze lovingly upon their beauty then leave this part of the recipe out! But if you do pick a bloom or two please make sure to give thanks to the tree. And don’t be afraid of agar agar! It makes the most delicious of jellies and no pigs or cattle are killed in its creation.
Ārepa is New Zealand’s first brainfood technology company and this recipe is NZ’s first Ārepa cheesecake. Together, we will make you brainer. And happier. I LOVED dreaming this creation up and hope you have as much fun as I did making it, then serving it up. It’s celebration worthy!
COCONUT, ALMOND AND HAZELNUT BASE
1 c dried coconut
1 c slithered almonds
1 c roasted hazelnuts
2 t vanilla essence
1 orange, zested
¼ t salt
½ c soft medjool dates
7 T melted coconut oil
COCONUT CASHEW FILLING
2 ¼ c cashews, soaked then rinsed
1 c coconut cream
1 c melted coconut oil
½ c maple syrup
1 T vanilla essence
¼ c lemon juice
¼ t sea salt
4 T Ārepa nootropic Brainfood Powder
¾ c defrosted and drained frozen raspberries or blueberries
2 T maple syrup
½ c melted coconut oil
*** use the drained raspberry juice to make raspberry jelly stars
PŌHUTUKAWA AND ĀREPA JELLY LAYERS
2 c water
2 large Pōhutukawa blooms
⅓ c maple syrup or ½ c white sugar
3 T lemon juice
3 T Ārepa Drink, sparkling or still
3 t agar agar powder
*** sugar will create a pinker colour, but it won’t be sugar free!
PURE ĀREPA JELLY
1 ½ c water
½ c Ārepa drink, sparkling or still
⅓ c maple syrup
3 T lemon juice
3 t agar agar powder
Handfuls of Ārepa Neuroberries
First up soak those cashew nuts for the cheesecake fillings. Cover them in warm water and soak for 2 hours. Rinse them well until the water runs clear then dry lightly by rubbing them dry in a tea towel. They can still be damp, just not dripping.
Blend coconut and ¼ c almonds until fine. Add dates and pulse until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a ball that holds together in your fingers. I like to keep it about the consistency of very course breadcrumbs. So don’t over pulse!
Press the base into your well greased Legacy Pan (I used soft coconut oil). Take your time doing this to make sure it’s evenly spread right up to the rim of your pan.
Store in the fridge whilst you make the fillings.
COCONUT CASHEW FILLING
Blend all the coconut filling ingredients in a highspeed blender until very smooth.
Pour half of this filling into a bowl and set aside.
Add Ārepa filling ingredients to the blender with the remaining coconut filling and blend until very smooth. This will be a thicker consistency than the coconut filling.
Pour this Ārepa filling over the cheesecake base and smooth out the top.
Carefully pour the coconut filling over the top of the Ārepa filling in a spiral and swirl lightly to create a marble effect. Don’t over swirl!
Pop, covered, in the fridge for 2 hours to set. It must be fully set before pouring the jelly over the top.
IF YOU'RE MAKING THE PŌHUTUKAWA JELLY LAYER
Pull the pōhutukawa stamens from their stems and stir into the water. Use a small - medium sized pot. If you have time you can steep the stamens for a few hours. If not, just boil with a lid on for 15 minutes until the water has turned a gorgeous pink. Strain and measure out the remaining liquid, adding water so you have 2 cups of liquid. Pour back into the pot.
Add the maple syrup/sugar and lemon juice and sprinkle over the agar agar powder. Stir well and bring to boil for 3 minutes. Look at that pretty pōhutukawa colour! Leave to cool, but not set, for 10 - 15 mins. You don’t want to pour hot jelly over the cheesecake.
Pour half the pōhutukawa jelly over the chilled cheesecake and leave to set. It won’t take long. Mix 3 T of Ārepa into remaining jelly and heat briefly if it’s starting to set. Cool a little and pour the Ārepa jelly gently over the set pōhutukawa jelly mix.
IF YOU’RE MAKING A PURE ĀREPA JELLY LAYER
Combine all ingredients and boil for 3 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes and pour over chilled cheesecake.
Chill in fridge for an hour before cutting.
Use leftover raspberry juice and add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Continue as per the above Ārepa jelly mix but add an extra teaspoon of agar agar. Pour into a shallow dish and leave to set. This will make a very firm jelly that you can easily cut into star shapes with a cookie cutter.
Run a hot knife around the outer edge of the chilled cheesecake to release the crust. The trick to cutting it is to use a small knife to get under the crust of the first pieces. It will cut very easily once you’re in the swing of things The first piece might be a little bit fiddly to get out so make that a little slither. Oooh! Admire the marbled effect! Go on, you really do deserve to ‘test’ that first little slice after all this creativity!
I like to bring the cheesecake back to almost room temperature then sprinkle with crushed and whole Ārepa freeze dried black currants, garnish with raspberry stars and ENJOY!
*** The Neuroberries will lose their crunch if exposed to air for too long, so don’t sprinkle until you have the cheesecake on the table and are ready to serve.