This recipe had two firsts for me—firstly, my first foray into using native Australian spices which I had been eyeing up at various venues for quite some time. Secondly, my first no-bake cheesecake, which I’m chagrined to say that I should have made a long time ago. When you grow up with maybe the world’s best baked cheesecake, it’s hard to admit (and I’ve argued several times) that anything but a baked cheesecake is worth anyone’s time or calories. I stand corrected. No-bake cheesecakes are lighter and just as satisfying as baked cheesecakes, though I do think that the two are in rather separate categories and thusly shouldn’t be compared (it’d be like comparing a gorgeous chocolate mousse to chocolate pate—I mean seriously, couldn’t you just eat one on top of the other?).
Suffice it to say, this cheesecake was gorgeous, and a complete success. It was light in texture and had a great balance between crust and filling, and the lemon myrtle lent such a unique flavour. It smells and tastes of a combination of lemon, lime, and lemongrass, a little potent and exotic but entirely flavourful and versatile. Interestingly, all the Aussies who I’ve shown it to have never used it before, though I wouldn’t describe it as uncommon either. It goes magnificently with all sorts of dishes, from cheesecake and sweetbreads to fish and chicken, as well as teas and herbal blends. I have a good little tin of it to use up, so you’ll be seeing more lemon myrtle recipes eventually! I haven’t found any sites that export to North America, but seriously, if you want some I can easily head over to the Oxfam shop and buy you a 70 g tin for $8. It’s amazing stuff.
If you don’t have access to any lemon myrtle, consider using lemon or orange zest instead, with a pinch of cloves or honey or somesuch. Or make it a simple cheesecake without any flavouring, which will be just as delicious!
Lemon Myrtle No-bake Cheesecake
Based on the Lemon Myrtle Cheesecake recipe from Not Quite Nigella
Cooking time: 30 minutes + chilling
- For the crust:
- 3/4 cup (50 g) sweet crumbs, such as graham wafers, or about 10 sweet biscuits, such as digestive, arrowroot, wheatmeal, or a blend thereof
- 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts
- 1/4 cup butter
- For the filling:
- 2 tsp gelatin, dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water (this is 2/3 of a packet of gelatin)
- 1 cream cheese package (225 g / 8 oz, your standard Philadelphia block)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp lemon myrtle, or other flavouring
In a food processor, blend together the sweet crumbs (or biscuits) with the nuts and butter. I actually forgot the nuts the first time I made this, and it tasted great, but I’ll definitely add them in next time! You can also do this by hand. Line the bottom of a springform cake pan with waxed paper, and press the crust into it firmly and evenly, to remove any air. Leave in a cool place while you make the filling.
Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water and set aside. Soften the cream cheese and butter together in the microwave, and combine with an electric mixer until slightly fluffy and completely smooth in texture. Add the gelatin, sugar, and lemon myrtle, blend again until smooth.
Pour the mixture onto the crust, and smooth out with a spoon if need be. Refrigerate for several hours until set. Enjoy!