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Blackberry Honey Cheesecake (Low Carb)

Foraging is one of my favorite past times. You can pretty much guarantee that if I’m outside, I have my eyes on the plants around me and (on a good day) will find something to nibble on.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll recall my love of foraging from these posts: wild Alaskan berries, fiddlehead quiche, and wild pea & kale soup.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, blackberries are at their prime in late summer and early fall. Aside from their unforgiving thornes (even the underside of the leaves have ‘em!), they’re an absolute treat on the side of roads, bike paths, trails… you name it. They grow e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

If you find a good patch, you can easily pick several gallons at a time. Last week, I did just that and in an effort to put them to good use, combined with the fact that I had just snagged some wild blackberry honey from a local beekeeper, I had one of those lightbulb moments: blackberry honey cheesecake!

Nutritionally, you might be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of cheesecake.

But hear me out. Yes, cheesecake is high in fat, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fat helps blunt your body’s blood sugar response. I frequently hear from clients and participants in my gestational diabetes course that fatty desserts (like cheesecake) yield much better blood sugar numbers than low-fat, high-sugar options (like sorbet).

Cheesecake is not a dessert that I’m inclined to overeat, I think, in part, due to its favorable glycemic response and high calorie content, but also because of its rich, creamy texture.

It’s not a conundrum; it’s basic physiology. We’ve just been given warped nutrition information that has made us focus on low calorie desserts (low fat) instead of low sugar ones. (Clearly, I’m not a fan of counting calories.) If I’m gonna bother with dessert, it’s certainly not gonna be something useless like angel food cake. (Blech…)

That said, most cheesecake is waaaay over the top sweet for my tastes. I looked up the nutrition facts for Cheesecake Factory’s lemon raspberry cheesecake (sorry, they didn’t have a blackberry cheesecake for comparison) and it has a whopping 75g of carbohydrates. That’s about 19 teaspoons of sugar – more than you get in a 20 oz soda!

I knew I wanted to make a low-er carb, less sweet cheesecake. Since I eat a diet fairly low in grains and have a sensitivity to wheat, I knew the crust would not be the traditional graham cracker or crumbled cookie crust. I also was in no mood to deal with the annoyance of baking a cheesecake in a waterbath. With a busy toddler around, I ain’t got time for that!

So what I settled on was a simple blackberry honey cheesecake that is low in added sugar with a no-bake filling and grain-free crust. It’s also super quick to throw together.

This isn’t a sickeningly sweet cheesecake recipe.

How could it be when it only has 15g net carbs per slice? Rather, it has a very delicate sweet flavor that doesn’t overpower the blackberries. I snuck in a little stevia to up the sweetness without going overboard on honey. For those who dislike the taste of stevia, I promise you can’t even taste it (my hubby was blissfully unaware).

If you prefer desserts on the sweeter side, I suggest adding an extra tablespoon or two of honey to the filling. OR, and this is my preference, drizzle a teaspoon of honey over the top of each slice immediately before serving.

Again, since I’ve worked for years to wean myself off of sugar, I like the recipe as is. Some family members who tried the recipe preferred it with that extra drizzle of honey. That really takes it over the top, but is entirely optional.

If you don’t like blackberries or don’t have them available by the vat, know that virtually any type of soft fruit (raw or cooked) would be delicious atop this cheesecake.

Blackberry Honey Cheesecake (low carb)

yield 10 slices

Crust

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup ground cashews or almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted

Filling

  • 16 oz cream cheese full-fat (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 packet stevia extract
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 6 oz boiling water plus 2oz warm water
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients. Transfer to a large tart pan (I prefer one with a removeable bottom, but this is not required). Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup, evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan.
  3. Bake in center of oven until golden and firm, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.

For the Filling

  1. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, honey, stevia, lime juice and zest using either a hand mixer or a wooden spoon until fully combined. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add 2oz warm water. Sprinkle gelatin over the top. Let sit for a minute to “bloom” the gelatin (this ensures there are no gelatin granules in the final dessert). Add 6oz boiling water. Whisk until gelatin is fully dissolved (it may be a little frothy).
  3. Transfer gelatin-water mixture into the large bowl of cream cheese filling. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour cream cheese filling into tart shell and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until set.
  5. Top with blackberries - I arranged them one at a time starting from the outer edge, but you can make any pattern you like.
  6. Serve as is or with an optional drizzle of extra honey.

Recipe Notes

As written, this recipe has 15g net carbs per slice (23g total carbs, 8g fiber) if you cut it into 10 slices. Yep, it’s a high-fiber cheesecake! With a teaspoon of extra honey on top, it’s 21g net carbs. That certainly beats the 75g of carbs in a typical slice of cheesecake!

As always, when it comes to dessert, make mindful eating the norm.

Savor every bite.
Eat slowly.
Notice the contrast of the creamy filling and crunchy crust.
Taste each blackberry, noting how each one is slightly different. Some are sweet, some are tart. Some are soft and juicy, some are firm.
You deserve to enjoy dinner and dessert. It’s not a race.

If you like this recipe for blackberry honey cheesecake, let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next week,
Lily

PS – Want another low-carb, grain-free treat? Try my recipe for this decadent Dark Chocolate Cashew Tart.

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

6 Comments

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  1. This sounds great! Is there something else I could use in place of the ground cashews or almond flour? My daughter is allergic to nuts. I know flours are different (ex: coconut flour requires quite different liquid ratio than other flours), and I’m looking for a good substitute for ground nuts/nut meals/flours in other recipes as well. We are not gluten free, so wheat flour is an option for us. Just curious your opinion.

    • In that case, you could use a traditional shortbread cookie crust.

      Or if you want to keep it low carb, you could do a 100% coconut flour crust (sounds like coconut is ok for her?). I’d personally add an egg to the recipe to help bind it.

  2. Is there something else I could use instead of gelatin?

    • Perhaps agar agar? I can’t speak to it’s use, as I enjoy the nutritional benefits of gelatin, but I know it’s a plant-based alternative derived from algae.

  3. My kids loved it too. No one needed to add extra honey. I had a T extra butter in the crust and we used mixed berries: strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. All thought it was delicious and liked the lime flavor in the filling.

    • Good to hear! Glad it was a hit. 😉

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