1 cup (160g) almonds
6 soft fresh dates (120g), pitted
1 tablespoon raw cacao or cocoa powder*
1⁄3 cup (60g) white rice flour*
2 tablespoons light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
Natural Greek-style (thick) yoghurt, to serve
Chocolate cheesecake filling
2 cups (480g) fresh firm ricotta
1 cup (280g) natural Greek-style (thick) yoghurt
2⁄3 cup (90g) coconut sugar+
1⁄3 cup (35g) raw cacao or cocoa powder*, plus extra to serve 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
2 teaspoons water
Coconut caramel sauce
1⁄2 cup (70g) coconut sugar+
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ From the flowers of the coconut palm, coconut sugar is available to buy in the health food aisle of supermarkets and specialty grocers.
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°C). Line a 20cm round springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Place the almonds, dates, cacao, flour, oil and vanilla in a food processor and process for 1–2 minutes or until the mixture comes together. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base and sides of the tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until dry to the touch.
To make the cheesecake filling, place the ricotta, yoghurt, eggs, sugar and cacao in the cleaned food processor. Place the cornflour and water in a small bowl, mix to combine and add to the processor. Process for 1–2 minutes or until smooth.
Pour the filling over the base and bake for 35 minutes or until just set (the centre will still have a slight wobble). Allow to cool in the tin for 2 hours. Refrigerate until chilled.
While the cheesecake is cooling, make the coconut caramel sauce. Place the sugar, coconut milk and vanilla in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on a cake stand or plate. Top with the banana, coconut caramel sauce, yoghurt and extra cacao to serve.
Extract from Modern Baking by Donna Hay (FourthEstate, $55)