Even though I'm Australian I know I don't do a lot of native Australian foods. Not because I don't like them - on the contrary - but ingredients aren't particularly easy to come across. However markets and food festivals are often places where you can pick up native Australian bushfoods such as Wattleseed or Lemon Myrtle. I came across a stall at the Easter Show called Barbushco where they offered us small slices of a Lemon Myryle cheesecake they had made in order to demonstrate how to use their spices. We were instantly smitten. Light and fluffy and with that aromatic Lemon Myrtle scent (much like Lemongrass or Lemon Verbena), it was a fabulous Australian take on a lemon cheesecake.
I've made plenty of baked cheesecakes in the past but never an unbaked cheesecake. I was surprised at how easy it was (having put aside a whole afternoon to make it only to find that it was done within 40 minutes) in comparison. The different, lighter texture as opposed to the thick, creamy baked cheesecake texture was something not to eschew but to embrace at times where lightness and ease will do. The ground Lemon Myrtle is a pretty green shade as the leaves are used and they impart such a delicious sweet lemony aroma. If you're unable to get Lemon Myrtle then you can always substitute it with a good quality lemongrass powder or Lemon verbena. Or alternatively, you could use any kind of sweet sauce like a caramel sauce swirled through, a berry or fruit puree or your favourite chocolate bar chopped up into small pieces and stirred through.
As a whole cheesecake, it is a little shallower than your normal towering hunk of baked cheesecake and this is no surprise given that it only uses 250grams or 9 ounces of cream cheese. The ratio of crust to filling is also more equal than say a typical cheesecake so the first thing I thought of was a cheesecake slice where sturdiness and a thicker base is a desirable and necessary feature. Mr NQN was so in love with this idea that I decided to make the slice version the next day. It was a fabulous slice and out of the two shapes, I preferred it in the squares as this was easy to pop in a lunchbox.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you prefer a baked or a non baked cheesecake and what is your favourite Cheesecake flavour?
Also in some very exciting news, I have made it to #2 on the Top Australian Women Bloggers list!
Lemon Myrtle No-Bake Cheesecake Slice
10 digestive biscuits
1/2 cup macadamias
100g/3.5ozs melted butter
1.5 sheets of gelatine (titanium strength)
125g/4.4ozs butter at room temperature
250g/9ozs cream cheese at room temperature
2 teaspoons ground lemon myrtle
3/4 cup caster sugar
Step 1 - Line a square cake tin if you are making a slice or a round springform tin with baking paper on the base and sides. In a food processor, grind biscuits and macadamia nuts until finely ground as possible. Tip into a medium sized bowl and add melted butter and stir to combine.
Step 2 - Press onto the base of the lined tin and refrigerate until needed.
Step 3 - In a bowl of cold water, soften gelatine until pliable. Drain the cold water and add 1/4 cup of hot water and stir to combine and cool. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and then add cream cheese and lemon myrtle and beat again.
Step 4 - Add gelatine and beat until fluffy and fully incorporated. Take tin out of fridge and working quickly using a spatula, spoon the filling on top of the crumbs and smooth surface as much as possible. Refrigerate for several hours until set.
Adapted from Barbushco recipe book