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March 2021 Issue
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Aotea Circuit cheesecake

Photo: Warwick Prewar

A dairy and gluten-free cheesecake chilled in a river.

I made this dairy and gluten-free dessert when tramping the Aotea Circuit on Great Barrier Island. It’s a great alternative to cheesecake – but you do need a cold source, such as a stream, lake or tank water, to help chill the cake.

Prep Time: 15min
Cook Time: 15min
Set time: 3-4hr
Serves: Four-six
Cost: $12

Base ingredients
½ cup almonds
½ cup cashew nuts
½ cup dates
¼ cup boiling water

Filling ingredients
1 cup cashew nuts
5 pitted dates
Pinch of salt
½ cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)

1 cup dehydrated blueberries
1 teaspoon thickener (e.g. arrowroot, cornflour, tapioca)
¼ cup cold water
Rind of half a lemon
1 tablespoon Cacao nibs


At home:
Combine almonds and cashew nuts for base into a food processor and process until a clumpy texture. Bag this up. Process cashew nuts for filling ingredients until no nut pieces are left. Add pinch of salt and optional vanilla essence. Bag up.
2- Grate half a lemon and mix rind with one teaspoon of thickener.
Bag these together.

At Camp:
Chop the half cup of dates (base ingredients) and soak in boiling water to soften. Mix this with the base nut mixture. Press the base into a 12cm bowl lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure you have a thick crust along the sides.

Soak filling dates in boiling water for 2min and combine with the blended cashew mix. Stir into a smooth cashew cream. Pour over the base.

Topping: mix the thickener, rind and water from rehydrated blueberries in a pot. Add the rehydrated blueberries and stir well on a low to medium heat, until a gel has formed. Pour blueberry topping over the cheesecake and distribute evenly.

Chill covered and out of the sun beside a cold source – placed on or touching a water tank, in a shallow stream, or snow so it’s not submerged – for 3-4hr. Sprinkle cacao nibs on just before serving.

– Warwick Prewar