Matcha green tea & lime raw cheesecake

Recipe roundabout. Original post August 2015.

Ever since my friends at Matcha Maiden generously sponsored their 100% pure organic green tea powder for our goody bags at an event some time ago I’ve been busting to make a raw green tea cheesecake. The mix-and-matcha is made entirely of pure green tea leaves stone ground into a delicate but densely nutritious vibrant green powder and contains up to 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea.

If you’ve ever been to my place or we’ve had breakfast, you’ll know that I only drink green tea. Have done most of my life after giving up coffee and cigarettes when I was 24. That’s literally half a lifetime ago now, and it was the best decision I ever made! Sometimes, just to shock my mates, I’ll have a coffee somewhere – and then I’m up ’til Christmas, wired from the spark of Joe. It’s not for me. I like the flavour, but it wires me too much. Espresso Martinis however…well that’s another story! One of my few pet hates is receiving a generic tea bag in a cup, no loose leaves nor a teapot to let it brew. Fortunately the quality of teabags has improved greatly, and my favourite silk purse comes from Madame Flavour. I never leave home without a stash of Madame’s delicate green jasmine & pear.

 

Chinese legend has it that tea originated in the Sichuan Province as early as prehistoric times. It is believed that the fifth reincarnation of Buddha, Ta Mo had been meditating for years on when he eventually fell asleep. Upon wakening, he was so angry that he had failed his meditative duty that he sliced off his eyelids. The prosperous Sichuan soil embraced the heavenly donation by taking root and sprouting into the tea bush.

Similarly, in Japanese mythology, tea originated with Daruma, who was the founder of Zen Buddhism. Known as the “White Buddha” by the Chinese, he was given sanctuary in a Chinese cave temple where he meditated for nine years before falling asleep.  Daruma was so devastated that he, too, cut off his eyelids to prevent it from ever occurring again. Where his eyelids fell, leaves grew that could banish sleep. Today, green tea leaves still resemble the shape of the Buddha’s offending eyelids.

Tea leaves are green when harvested, and turn black after the fermentation process has occurred. Oolong teas have a short fermentation period, whereas black tea has been oxidised at length.   Japanese green tea leaves are harvested up to three times per year commencing in April, and the youngest leaves are considered the finest quality. After harvesting, the leaves are then steamed which inhibits oxidation, therefore preserving the unique colour, flavour and enzymes. Japanese monks were so impressed by this Chinese delicacy and they are believed to have introduced powdered tea hiki-cha to Japan when they returned from China at the end of the sixth century. Tea soon took on a religious aura and was revered as a gift from Heaven.

The healing properties of green tea have been well documented.  Containing natural polyphenols, a powerful group of antioxidants known as catechins, whose major task is to scavenge pro-oxidants and free radicals.  The predominant and most active catechin in green tea is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG).  This catechin is over 200 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralising the pro-oxidants and free radicals.

EGCG protects against digestive and respiratory infection and helps block the cancer-promoting actions of carcinogens.  They have exhibited protective properties against high total and LDL-cholesterol levels in laboratory tests.  In addition, the EGCG catechin helps to inhibit platelet aggregation, being 20 times more powerful than the inhibiting actions of vitamin E.

Green tea antioxidants may have a powerful effect in reducing inflammation and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis.  The antioxidant polyphenols found in tea help to neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals and possess much more potent antioxidant activity than Vitamins C and E.  With regular green tea intake, acidophilus levels increase, facilitating digestion and having a sterilising effect, preventing unhealthy bacteria and infection.

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Matcha & lime cheesecake

For the base
¼ cup chia, soaked in ½ cup water or coconut water
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup hazelnuts
1 cup dried figs, stems removed
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

For the filling
2½ cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hrs in water to soften)
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
⅓ cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping
½ packet Brookfarm Brothers Blend
½ teaspoon macqui powder (optional, but will add a rich berry flavour)
½ teaspoon matcha powder

Method

  • Line base of flan tin with baking paper.
  • Blend base ingredients and place in tin.
  • Press down with your hands and smooth over with a spatula until even.
  • Place in freezer to firm.

For the filling

  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Remove chilled base from freezer.
  • Pour in the filling and smooth over with a spatula until even.
  • Crumbled Brookfarm Brothers Blend in a mortar & pestle or roughly chop.
  • Scatter this mix around the edges of your cake.
  • Then sift Matcha Maiden green tea powder in the centre.
  • Finally sift a little macqui powder around the edges of the cake to boost the flavour.
  • Place in freezer and let it set for about 4 hours.
  • Allow to come to room temperature for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with my homemade coconut yoghurt
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