Tarta de aguacate: avocado cheesecake

Tarta de aguacate
We had this “house special” dessert in a restaurant on Spain’s Costa Tropical, famed for its avocado orchards, and enjoyed it so much that I decided to try and reproduce it at home. First I googled in Spanish and found quite a few recipes that would clearly have similar results. I ended up using them to provide the basic idea for the ingredients, and determining quantities and method for myself. I had thought it would need gelatine, and believed there was some in the restaurant version, but decided to try first without. And funnily enough it worked just fine, and set well after a few hours in the fridge. Just as well, as I next served it to vegetarians. It has a lovely fresh lime flavour and a pretty pale green colour, so it’s well suited to entertaining guests. You could serve it with a scoop of sorbet or ice cream on the side, but it’s fine without. One recipe showed it garnished with strawberries, which could be nice too.

It’s a really good way of using avocados that are so ripe as not to be suitable for salad; they need to be soft enough to be easily mashed. Very quick to make, no cooking required, but it does need time to chill. Also note that it won’t go brown as avocados do when exposed to the air, because of the lime juice.

Base:
1 packet Digestive biscuits
125 g butter
Topping:
2 large ripe avocados, or 3 small ones
4 limes
100 ml whipping cream
150 g cream cheese (Philadelphia type)
50-75 g sugar

To make the base, crush the biscuits to crumbs by putting them in a plastic bag and whacking with a rolling pin or other blunt instrument. Tip into a bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the crumbs. Use the mixture to line the base of a 20-cm tart tin, compressing it firmly, and put in the fridge to chill.

Zest the limes and then squeeze the juice. Halve the avocados, remove the stone, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl (or into the bowl of a food processor if you have one). Add about half of the lime juice, and half of the grated zest. Then add the cream cheese and about 50 g of sugar. Either use a stick blender to puree everything till smooth, or whizz with the food processor. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it in. Now taste the mixture and add more lime juice (and optionally sugar) to get a good flavour — I like a strong lime tang. The flavour will develop a little more while it’s chilling.

Spoon the avocado mixture onto the base and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the reserved lime zest and chill for a few hours before serving.

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