Even if Christmas were every day, I don’t think I’d ever tire of eating this! Some recipes are truly perfect, and this is one of them! I’d definitely recommend serving this on Christmas day itself, because it’s so special. The vibrant colours make it one of those true ‘centrepiece dishes’ and it will do even the most decadent of festive tables proud! I highly urge you to try this – you won’t be disappointed!
Cheesecake is one of those things where texture is everything! In this recipe, the cheesecake-layer itself is velvety smooth, which contrasts wonderfully with the dense biscuity base and crunchy macadamia topping. The creamy vanilla richness is balanced to perfection by the slight ‘tartness’ of cranberry; plus the light dusting of spice in the almond-base delivers that all important festive feel. You couldn’t hope for a more delicious Christmas dish than this!
There are some low-carb puddings that taste like ‘diet food’. Take my word for it; this isn’t one of them! Who’d have thought you could eat cheesecake and still lose weight? It’s things like this that make a ketogenic-diet a true pleasure to follow. And because it’s made with Xylitol & ground almonds, they’ll be no impact to your blood-sugar. As a result, it’s diabetic-friendly and an excellent choice for those with an intolerance to wheat.
Do you need any more convincing? Give it a go, and see for yourself…
First of all, make your cranberry topping. Take circa 300g of fresh cranberries and add to a thick-bottomed saucepan. Into this, zest the rind of one orange and pour in a couple of tablespoons of water. Place this on a slow hob to simmer until the cranberries begin to break down.
At this point, pour in a good glug of port to add richness. Keep the pan on the simmer until the mix has thickened to a dropping consistency, that’s still spreadable. You mighty be wondering where the sweetness comes from… Once the reduction has achieved the right texture, take the pan off the heat and sprinkle in circa third- to half a cupful of table sweetener. Other than Xylitol, most sweeteners lose their sweetness with heat. Adding it at the end, once the mix is a little cooler; means that you can use a less expensive sweetener and adjust the level slowly to suit your preference. Once the topping is as you like it, transfer this to a broad bowl to cool down.
To make the cheesecake-base, take a teacup full of ground almonds and half a cup of dessicated coconut. Mix this with half a cup full of Xylitol and a small teaspoon of mixed cake-spice. Then pour in double-cream until the mix clumps together but is not ‘wet’ (circa half a cup…?). The mixture should be shape-able.
Press the mix into the base of a buttered spring-form tin, making sure to bank some dough up against the sides. The aim is that this forms a watertight seal in the tin, and prevents the cream-cheese mix from leaking out.
Bake the base in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s very slightly brown and feels ‘just set’ to the touch.
Empty 2x 200g packets of cream-cheese into a large bowl and crack in two eggs. Add half a cupful of Xylitol and a further half cup of double-cream. Now shake in a good half-teaspoon of powdered vanilla seeds, a teaspoon of essence, or the equivalent of one pod. If you use liquid essence, be sure to read the ingredients list, as this often tends to contain sugar-syrup. Whisk the mixture until ‘divinely smooth’ and give it a taste. It should taste rich, creamy, fragrant and perfect.
Ladle the cream-cheese mix lightly on top of your base. Bake in a medium oven for 25 minutes, then turn the oven down to low and bake for a further 20 minutes. You want the mix to wobble very slightly when the tin is nudged, but not appear liquidy. It should only bear very light traces of brown on top. If golden or cracked, then you’ve regrettably cooked it a little too long or too high! All is not lost however; the joy of this recipe is that the topping will cover any surface-inconsistencies, so any flaws will be artfully hidden!
Leave the cheesecake to cool until room temperature, then remove from the tin. Refrigerate for one hour until lightly chilled. It’s important to make sure that the mix is truly cold and set, or else spreading the topping will ‘carve’ the surface, which would be a dreadful shame! Spoon the cranberry mix all over the surface, then spread with a palette-knife. Once nice and even, take a handful of macadamia nuts and pulse in a food-processor until the pierces are of a size you can sprinkle. Toast these very lightly under the grill then sprinkle the top liberally to deliver that all important crunch.
Transfer to your serving-plate and drape the top with zested orange to garnish. Then carry smugly and majestically to the table, to be demolished with pride! Once cut into, you can guarantee that everyone will want seconds. When food is this good, who can blame them…?
Be sure to keep reading for more festive recipes over the coming weeks! Check out The Low Carb Christmas for details.
Enjoy this magical season and thank you for reading. Bon ap!