(Except, of course, when they were only available at $14 / kg after Australia's banana plantations had been ruined by cyclones. Then I developed a sudden craving for them.)
With strawberries, it is the opposite. I love them plain and fresh, but am not a big fan of strawberry flavoured products. Strawberry ice cream has always been my least favourite flavour. Strawberry jam seems boring. Strawberry yoghurt tends to taste artificial.
Here we have a strawberry cheesecake slice and technically I don't like cheesecake either. Strawberry cheesecake should, by rights, have me running away at great speed.
But I'm not running. I loved this slice more than I can say. It has the flavours of fresh strawberries with the silky smoothness of a chilled cheesecake and a base that seems to pull it all together.
It is a million miles away from the strawberry cheesecake you might find in the frozen section of the supermarket. No artificial strawberry flavours here; indeed, no artificial flavours at all. The ingredients are predominantly raw and yet again (I may be getting obsessed...) there is that magical dessert ingredient - avocado.
For some added fun, this recipe was also largely born of imagination. I started off with a vague notion of making Gena's raw strawberry vanilla pudding from Choosing Raw, which was the first time I had seen avocado featured in a strawberry dessert. Between reading her post and making this slice, I started thinking about a strawberry version of Hannah's raw chocolate brownies from Wayfaring Chocolate. Then I thought back over my raw vegan cheesecake experimentation.
My mind whirred happily for a week or so, and this is what it gave me.
Chilled strawberry cheesecake slice
Makes 16 small slices
For the base
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/8 cup agave (or maple syrup)
Up to 1 tbsp water, as needed (I used about 2/3 tbsp)
For the topping
2 small avocados (mine weighed 110g each with peel and stone)
12 medium strawberries, washed and de-stemmed
1/4 cup agave (or maple syrup)
1/8 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla
Line a loaf tin or square baking tin with baking paper (if you use a square baking tin you will probably only cover ~2/3 of the tin, but that doesn't matter).
To prepare the base, combine all of the base ingredients except the water in a food processor. Process until fine. Add up to 1 tbsp water, as needed, to form a slightly sticky mixture that is starting to clump together to form a ball.
Press the base mixture into your prepared tin, using a spatula or your fingers to spread it out evenly. Set aside while you make the topping.
To prepare the topping, combine all of the topping ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Spread over the base.
Set in the freezer for at least 4 hours before slicing. Store in the freezer but bring slices to room temperature 5 - 10 minutes before serving.
*I had enough topping to cover the base and still have some spare (a small bowlful). I ate the spare topping plain but you could make a thicker topping on the slices if you preferred.
I was initially worried about the colour of these, as they were a bit murkier before being chilled. However, the time in the freezer turned them to the pink shown here (how? I don't know) and in the end there was no hint of avocado in colour or in taste.
With that said, these aren't as sweet or creamy (in a dairy sense) as regular cheesecake and I can imagine that they might not appeal to those who do like traditional, sweeter cheesecake products. Mr Bite was less enamored with them than I was, although this was partially due to the base. He doesn't like nuts, coconut or oats (I know...) so that dislike was not particularly surprising.
As for me? I am smitten.
What do you think of strawberry products and desserts? Yes or no?