Special occasions – New Year’s parties, birthdays, weddings, other celebrations – can be pitfalls for anyone trying to reduce their sugar intake. It is all too easy to say “well, just this once – it’s a special occasion” and take in something we know will not make us feel good. For those who have sugar addictions, it can be a slippery slope where we start finding excuses to splurge on less and less “special” occasions until we find ourselves back to regularly consuming sugar. This dessert will help you satisfy your sweet tooth without the sugar splurge. Because of its ingredients, it is definitely a special occasion dessert, unless you are living somewhere you can get all the tender coconuts you want!
I’ve chosen a minty flavor for this cheesecake that works well with winter palates, while satisfying chocolate mint cravings that seem to occur at certain points in the menstrual cycle for many women.
A reminder that stevia preparations vary, and that if you are not using the same stevia I’m using (Nature’s Way Organic), you should taste test as you go to ensure you are happy with the sweetness and flavor you’re getting.
Begin by cutting a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of a 10” springform pan.
Then, make the crust:
Grind 1 ½ cups hulled raw buckwheat coarsely in a food processor.
Add 1 cup raw pecans and process till the texture is even.
Then, add :
2 tsp coconut oil
6 droppers of toffee-flavored liquid stevia
2 droppers vanilla-flavored liquid stevia
Pinch of salt
Process again until thoroughly combined.
Press into the bottom of the springform pan.
Make the filling:
Place 2 cups of raw cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler over low heat and allow to melt while you do the next step.
Place 2 packages (454g each) of tender young coconut flesh in the food processor. Blend for several minutes to get it as smooth as possible. If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, you may be able to get maximum smoothness more quickly. But I use a typical department store food processor and it works well enough with some patience.
Add to the coconut:
20 droppers vanilla-flavored liquid stevia
5 droppers unflavored liquid stevia
5 droppers toffee-flavored stevia
2 tsp vanilla extract (or, even better, scrape out a vanilla bean)
10 drops pure peppermint essential oil
NOTE: Some peppermint essential oil (especially the cheaper brands) is chemically extracted and never meant to be used internally. Please check to make sure your brand is suited to internal use. NOW peppermint oil is ok for internal use as long as it is diluted (this counts as dilution!). The Aromatherapist brand has organic, steam-extracted peppermint oil. I’ve also heard good things about doTERRA. You could use peppermint extract, but you would need to use significantly more of it, and many peppermint extracts are just peppermint oil diluted in alcohol. Skip the extra alcohol and go for the good stuff!
Gradually blend the melted cocoa butter into the coconut mixture. Take a moment to check and see if you are happy with the flavor (remember that when the mixture is chilled, flavors are less strong). Adjust with a few more drops stevia or essential oil as needed.
Divide the filling into two parts. To one part, stir in ⅓ cup carob powder.
NOTE: While I allow for a splurge here with cocoa butter, I don’t recommend cocoa powder. Cocoa solids – which make chocolate brown – have an agitating and addictive energy that I find is best not engaged with. You would also need to increase the stevia to counteract cocoa’s bitterness.
To the other part, stir in:
⅓ cup dried goji berries
½ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
Scoop the filling into the crust. You can further divide the white filling and spread one layer on the bottom before adding the carob filling and then topping with the rest of the white. Or just pour the carob layer in first, smooth it down and then spread the white layer over top.
Cover and chill overnight before serving. Serves 16. Optionally, garnish with a few more goji berries and chopped pistachios. Tender young coconut flesh has a very short shelf life, so this dessert is best enjoyed within three or four days, or frozen for later use.
Pranada Devi has read up on nutrition and wellness since 2000. She has worked as a baker in an organic deli, helped to cater vegan weddings, and given talks in two languages on the ecological impact of dietary choices. She quit eating sugar in 2014 and caffeine in 2015 and, when her busy schedule as a communications advisor permits, she enjoys developing natural sugar-free recipes.