Mandarin and Lime Cheesecake

This is an alternate take on my GF Coconut & Cherry Cheesecake, but using sweet tinned mandarins with a hint of sharp lime. There’s also plenty of toasted coconut and white chocolate to make it rich and creamy.

Start the filling the day before serving, to have time to properly chill; bake the crust and assemble the next day.

Serves: 12 – 16

Ingredients
For the filling:

  • 2 unwaxed limes, juice only; save the grated zest for the crust and garnish (see last footnote)
  • 80g desiccated coconut nibs
  • One 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 200g white chocolate, roughly chopped

For the crust:

  • Two 400g tins of mandarin segments: drained in a sieve over a bowl; save the fruit for assembling
  • 4 & 1/2 tablespoons mandarin juice/syrup (see above)
  • 115g gluten-free plain flour
  • 45g porridge oats
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 75g finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 & 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 unwaxed limes (see Filling Ingredients): 1/3 of finely grated zest (save other 2/3 for garnish)

For assembling, and garnish:

  • Two 400g tins of mandarin segments, drained (see Crust Ingredients)
  • 750g full-fat soft (i.e., cream) cheese, straight from the fridge
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 45g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, + additional for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Lime zest, finely grated (see Crust Ingredients)
  • 20g desiccated coconut curls

Kit

  • A fine citrus grater, and a citrus juicer
  • 1 non-stick frying pan
  • 1 large, heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • Mixing bowls: 1 large and 2 medium
  • Clingfilm
  • A sieve and a small bowl
  • A deep-sided, round, loose-based, non-stick tart/flan or pie tin
    (at least 5cm deep and about 24cm in diameter); or, a springform tin of similar size
  • Kitchen paper
  • Manual whisk
  • Cooling rack

Steps
Making the filling:

  1. Zest and juice the limes (see last footnote for zesting ideas). Spread the zest on a plate and leave on the countertop to dry out.
  2. Put the coconut nibs in a searingly hot, dry frying pan, and stir quickly for up to 20 seconds until it’s all golden. Take care not to go too long – they will burn if toasted much more than 20 seconds. TIP: thinner layers of nibs in the pan are easier to control, so toast in multiple batches if necessary.
  3. Pour the toasted nibs into a large saucepan and add the coconut milk and lime juice. Set over the very lowest hob heat, and simmer very gently for 45-50 minutes, until totally reduced (i.e., no visible liquid). Give it a good stir every 5 minutes; more frequently after 30 minutes. You should end up with the consistency of very thick porridge.
  4. Take the pot off the heat. Add the white chocolate, and stir it in vigourously until it’s completely melted. Pour this into a medium bowl and cover with clingfilm, pressing it down to touch the whole top of the mixture to avoid a skin forming. Place in the fridge to chill overnight.

Making the crust:

  1. Drain the tinned mandarin segments in a sieve over a bowl, retaining the juice/syrup.
  2. Preheat oven to 210 C (190 C fan-assisted).
  3. Mix the crust ingredients together in a medium bowl with a fork until fully moistened and combined. Press the mixture into the tart/pie tin with your hands, ensuring it’s thin, even, and goes all the way up the sides. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to ensure it isn’t too thick there. Prick the bottom and sides – including around the bottom edge – all over lightly with a fork (it will puff up if you don’t), and place in the oven.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn down the oven to 160 C (140 C fan-assisted). Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until evenly browned and not looking or smelling burnt. Remove the tin to a rack and allow to fully cool.

Assembling:

  1. Chop the drained mandarin segments into bite-sized pieces as necessary, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Put the coconut curls in a searingly hot, dry frying pan, and stir quickly for up to 20 seconds until it’s all golden. Take care not to go too long – they will burn if toasted much more than 20 seconds. TIP: smaller amounts of curls in the pan are easier to control, so toast in multiple batches if necessary. Take the pan off the heat and pour the curls onto kitchen paper to cool.
  3. Gently mix the cheese, sugar, cornflour, and spices in a large bowl – you might find a manual whisk helps with any small lumps. Add the chilled chocolate & coconut mixture, and stir gently (the rougher you treat the cream cheese, the runnier it will be).
  4. Blob 1/3 of the filling into the cooled crust in large spoonfuls and make a smooth layer. Sprinkle over 1/3 of the mandarins.

    Add half of the remaining filling; sprinkle half the remaining mandarins over.
    Spread the last of the filling over. Sprinkle over (or place in the pattern of your choice) the last of the mandarins.
    Grate fresh nutmeg over; sprinkle the remaining lime zest over; then heap the toasted coconut curls on top.
  5. Leave to chill in the fridge for 2 hours or more (or in the freezer for 30 minutes) until firm.
  6. Turn out the cheesecake, slice and serve.

Toasted Coconut
This recipe is really enhanced by toasting the coconut. But you could leave that out if you prefer to skip this.

Additional/Alternate Lime Zest Garnish
You could create enough finely grated lime zest for the crust, then use a vegetable scraper for the remaining zest for the garnish. Finely slice (and curl up, if you can) the zest slices – or, use one more lime for this. Alternatively, use a citrus grater to get fine, thin, short strips for the garnish.
If using a vegetable scraper, I recommend pinches of caster sugar over the zest slices/curls before placing, so it’s not too sharp on top (I really do not like garnishes which are there only for photographic purposes, and not meant to be eaten).

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