Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

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I have been wanting to create a primal cheesecake for months and my brother’s Birthday provided the perfect opportunity, as he is also primal and LOVES cheesecake! I’m also completely obsessed with rhubarb and don’t let a Spring go by without making some perfectly balanced sweet and tart baked good with this bright red seasonal stalk, usually paired with strawberries or raspberries. If you are in the Santa Monica, Malibu or Topanga Canyon area, I am now selling individually sized versions of this cheesecake and new york style at Topanga FRESH Market, an organic and natural foods market and cafe in Topanga Canyon!! Come by and give it a taste. Its debut at the Birthday party went over quite nicely–I’m pretty sure everyone went in for seconds.

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Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake  (Difficulty: Intermediate; Serves 12-14)

For the Crust:

  • 1 c. almond meal
  • 1 c. toasted pecans, finely ground in food processor
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • pinch of Kosher salt

For the Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temp.
  • 2/3 c. raw honey (**this can vary depending on type of honey–add gradually and taste for sweetness)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (next time I want to experiment with some zest for an even brighter lemon flavor)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 organic cage-free eggs, at room temp.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:

  • 2 c. rhubarb, sliced (organic if possible)
  • 2 c. diced organic strawberries
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. arrow root powder

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350° and wrap a 9″ springform pan with two layers of heavy duty tin foil. Toast pecans in a toaster oven or tradition oven on 300° for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and finely chop in a food processor. Combine almond meal, ground pecans, honey, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a bowl. With a stand or handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined. The crust should be moist enough to slightly clump together when mixed. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

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Make the filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325° and put a large pot of water to boil on the stove. When the water is boiling, fill a large roasting pan with boiling water to serve as a water bath for more even baking. This will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking on the surface.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and honey in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan prepared with boiling water. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Make the compote:

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the honey is well incorporated. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add the arrow root powder to the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add to the fruit mixture. Simmer on low until the compote has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Remove cheesecake from springform pan and serve topped with compote.

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