• This is what happens when your no-bake cheesecake dips its toes into wattleseed. (Farah Celjo)Source: Farah Celjo
This is what happens when your no-bake cheesecake dips its toes into wattleseed.
By
Farah Celjo

9 Jul 2021 - 12:22 PM  UPDATED 9 Jul 2021 - 2:43 PM

 --- The Cook Up with Adam Liaw airs weeknights on SBS Food at 7.00pm and 10.00pm or stream it free on SBS On Demand. Watch Jo-Ann Lee make this wattleseed cheesecake Friday 9 July. --- 

 

Cheesecakes know no bounds.

From cookies & cream and vanilla panna cotta to ricotta and dulce de leche, cheesecakes are an excellent vehicle for flavour.

How much TLC is required completely depends on how much time you've got on your hands. Of course, baked requires you to turn on your oven as well, so having a no-bake version up your sleeve is never a bad thing. Prepare it in the morning, ready to slice into later that afternoon and into the evening. 

Enter wattleseed, a mighty bush food with an extensive resume. It has been an integral part of the Indigenous Australian diet and culture for decades and traditionally these crunchy seeds were roasted and ground into flour for breads and cakes baked in a hot coal fire. 

It teeters between coffee, hazelnut and chocolate in flavour, is a great source of fibre, iron and protein making it highly nutritious and it happens to also be low-GI and gluten-free. It makes for a great vanilla substitute, adds a swirl of colour, similar to a poppyseed but with a nutty undertone and is great in a damper. When roasted, it is typically ground into a powder or flour as a thickening agent, used as a naturally caffeine-free substitute for coffee, or it can be used to flavour scones, eggs, rice and Jo-Ann Lee's easy no-bake cheesecake.

The base is quintessential no-bake; butter and biscuit, chilled. Followed by a filling of cream cheese, white chocolate, ricotta (or mascarpone), cream cheese, double cream (or crème fraîche), roasted and ground wattleseed and poached quandongs or strawberries, to serve. 

Different wattleseed varieties garner different tastes and flavours and you can easily purchase roasted and ground wattleseed from a variety of Indigenous-run bush food businesses online as well as herb and spice retailers

Wattleseed

No-bake your own

This is a really versatile recipe. You can use almost any biscuit, cracker, pretzel or even chopped halva or chocolate in the base. I used several opened (and neglected) packets of biscuits that I had in my cupboard and can equally top with any fruits, nuts or drizzles and compotes you have tucked away in your fridge or cupboard. 

Combine 300 g of crushed biscuits with 150 g of melted butter and mix until combined. You can easily do this in one hit in a food processor if you prefer. Press the biscuit base into a lined 23-cm springform tin (or a 20-cm tin if you prefer a thicker biscuit) and refrigerate it until you're ready to top your filling.

In a bowl over simmering water, melt 400 g of white chocolate until smooth making sure you follow the golden rule or double-boiler action, no touching between the bowl and bubbling water. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat 300 g of softened cream cheese, 250 g ricotta and 300 ml double cream until well combined. Add your roasted and ground wattleseed and then pour in your melted and cooled white chocolate and stir until combined. Evenly smooth the mixture over your biscuit base and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight if you're making this the night before. 

Jo-Anne Lee tops hers with poached quandongs (worth sourcing if you can) and sliced strawberries. While I didn't have poached quandongs on hand, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and chopped macadamias all got some love here.

Otherwise, keep it simple and creamy with no-bake, no worries. 

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @farahceljo.

More ways with wattleseed
Feels like home: Sharon Winsor's wattleseed bread and butter pudding
Sharon Winsor's version of a winter classic combines sweet childhood memories with Australia's ancient wattleseed.
Wattleseed and vanilla ice-cream

Acacia Victoriae wattle is a native Australian tree that produces a seed with an aroma similar to coffee or fortified wine that is most often used in sweet dishes. Here, it adds flavour to creamy ice-cream.

High-protein wattleseed is nuttily delicious and good for you too
Wattleseed is a low-GI, high-protein bush food star that adds flavour to everything from a 'wattlecino' to damper.
Gingerbread ute

Make friends with anyone who owns a ute or truck. Our gingerbread truck celebrates our native ingredients - it's made from roasted wattleseed, which adds a coffee note to the biscuit. 

Wattleseed and thyme damper

The wattleseeds add a nutty, coffee-like flavour and smell fantastic when sliced hot.

Were Indigenous Australians the world's first bakers?
The Gurandgi Munjie group is revitalising native crops once cultivated by Aboriginal Australians, baking new breads with forgotten flours.
Chocolate and wattleseed self-saucing pudding

With its coffee-like aroma, wattleseed is an ideal accompaniment to chocolate and works wonderfully in this self-saucing pudding. Chef Mark Olive recommends soaking the wattleseed for 20 minutes in boiling water before starting the recipe.