Chocolate-banana cheesecake with a chewy Anzac biscuit base. Photo: Marina Oliphant
Oats are not just for making porridge. Even if that's the only thing you like to do with them, it is best to use raw rolled oats, as quick oats are pre-steamed, which means they lose some of their goodness. Oats are low in GI so they release their sugars into the bloodstream slowly. That is why after having them for breakfast you still feel satisfied until lunch without the need for snacks.
In this Bircher muesli the orange juice makes the difference from other recipes, adding a tang. Apple juice is usually added, but I find it quite sweet and grated apple is added at the end. Instead of the usual crushed biscuit base for my cheesecake, I thought using the classic Anzac biscuit combination of oats, coconut and golden syrup flavours would be more interesting. When using bananas, I find roasting them in the skin for 15 minutes on 180 degrees helps. This intensifies the flavour; I do this for banana bread, ice-cream, muffins, and other recipes where the banana will be cooked anyway.
350g rolled oats (not quick oats)
170g toasted muesli
300g natural yoghurt
600ml orange juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 crisp apples
200g whole almonds, roasted and chopped
Put oats, toasted muesli, honey, yoghurt, orange juice, cinnamon and sultanas in a bowl and mix well. Leave to soak overnight.
Grate apples and mix through oats until well incorporated. Add almonds. Spoon into bowls and top with stewed apple or rhubarb.
Anzac biscuit base:
100g plain flour
90g brown sugar
60g rolled oats
50g desiccated coconut or coconut flakes
1 tsp sea salt
80g salted butter, coarsely chopped
20g golden syrup
2/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g dark chocolate
400g cream cheese
150g brown sugar
100g whole almonds, roasted
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
For base, mix flour, sugar, oats, coconut and salt in a bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir in golden syrup, then bicarbonate of soda - the mixture will foam. Add to dry ingredients, stir to combine and press into a buttered 21-centimetre square tin* lined with baking paper so it comes up the sides. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10-15 minutes, and set aside.
Bake bananas in the oven at the same time as the Anzac base, remove and cool. For topping, put chocolate in a heatproof bowl, place over simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally. Peel bananas and puree with cream cheese in a food processor. Add sugar and continue pureeing until smooth. Add melted chocolate and scrape down the processor bowl sides so it mixes evenly.
When fully mixed, pour onto cooled biscuit base and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. When set, use the baking paper to lift it out of the tin. Top with chopped roasted almonds and dust with icing sugar.
* A 22-centimetre round springform tin can also be used.