Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria

Recipes from an Islandmix. Chef Dara Bello O'Shanahan. Gran Canaria.

Guía Flower Cheesecake with tuno cactus flower sorbet and Tejeda crunchy almonds, by Dara Bello O´Shanahan

For serving 6 people approx.

Ingredients for the cheesecake

500 gr creamy spreadable cheese
620 gr Guía flower cheese
335 gr sugar 
60 gr flour 
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
80 gr cream

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend into a consistent pulp.
Spread around a moulding dish no higher than 3 cm.
Heat in a bain-marie at 90 degrees for 2 hours, then leave to cool in the fridge.
Reserves in piping nozzle.

Cheesecake with tuno cactus flower sorbet and Tejeda crunchy almonds

Ingredients for the Tuno cactus flower sorbet

190 gr sugar 
1 peeled lemon with no white bits remaining
350 gr peeled tuna cactus flower
1 kg ice cubes

Place the sugar in a powerful mixer, add the mashed and strained tuno, and the lemon.
Add the ice and blend until it becomes a creamy texture.

Ingredients for the Tejeda Almond Sable

200 gr almonds 
200gr butter 
200 gr flour 
200gr icing sugar

Break up the butter, add the rest of the ingredients and mix together until achieving a uniform paste.
Divide into two onto non-sticking paper, roll out into flat cakes no higher than half a centimetre.
Allow to cool for half an hour. Bake at 170 degrees for 12 minutes. Once cooled, break up into small pieces.
Decorate with edible lavander flowers from Santa Brígida.

** The three parts can be combined according to taste.

Download recipe [PDF - 348 KB]

Cheesecake with tuno cactus flower sorbet and Tejeda crunchy almonds
Dara Bello O´Shanahan


Dara Bello explains how the recipe for her 'Canary Cheesecake' recipe came about:

"I wanted to pay tribute to Canary cheeses by dedicating a dessert to them, specially the deliously unique flower cheese from Guía in the north of Gran Canaria. I was inspired by the walks I used to take with my grandfather around the Jardín Canario, and I just felt that cheese could mix well with tuno cactus flower and with almonds from Tejeda. The tuno flower has an intense colour and a versatile texture, while the almonds in Tejeda have such a great flavour, plus a beauty inspired by the almond trees.

The blend of Guía flower cheese with a tuno cactus flower sorbet and the crunchy almonds reflect the wealth of flavours, textures and climates around the island. The cheese provides the warmth, the tuno the freshness, and the almond the loud crunch. 

All together they celebrate the brightness, colour and varied countryside around Gran Canaria. The lavender flowers, which are also harvested on the island, round off the whole thing with a sweet, fresh aroma."

Who is Dara Bello O´Shanahan?

Cuisine pursues Dara relentlessly. As a child, when she didn't like her dinner, she would throw herself into preparing something different, even though she could barely see over than the gas cooker at home. As an adult, she trained as an interior designer at the Dublin Institute of Design. She then became a jewellery designer, after which she took up cooking as a trade, in Ireland, at Little Caesar's in Dublin.

She then worked as a room supervisor at the prestigious Nosh restaurant and as a kitchen assistant and restaurant coordinator at Cavistons Food Emporium. After this she worked as a catering manager for film production companies.

Her next stage saw her learn the secrets of organic baking at the legendary Marc Michel Organic Life in Wicklow, where she met Maggy Lynch, creator of the Soul Food Company, who became Dara's greatest influence in bedding in her cooking philosophy. This fortunate encounter confirmed to her that eating healthily - as her father insisted - could prove to be the greatest pleasure.

Dara opened her first restaurant, Dara Feeling Good, in 2013 in the island’s capital city, which enabled her to offer healthy and delicious cuisine. With the support of her family and Moba Showroom, she put her ideas into action. Three years later, she expanded to larger premises at Calle Travieso in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where she shared her healthy menu, freshly baked bread and pastries, organic produce from the garden, yoga classes and much more, with her customers.

In 2018 Dara took on a new challenge as an entrepreneur, moving her recipe manual to a new restaurant, Dara Gourmet, in the Gourmet Experience boulevard of El Corte Inglés, in Mesa y López, one of the capital’s top shopping centres, where today the chef leaves her fine culinary mark.

Our 8th 'dish-enhancing' secret ingredient

The municipality of Tejeda on the island’s summit is famous for its almonds, that germinate every year in some incredible local settings, and are responsible for the town’s ancient pastry-making tradition. This tradition keeps the almond at the forefront of the culinary offerings here, used in mazipans, polvorones, piñones and in Bienmesabe, the delicious typical sweet from Gran Canaria, and the finest accompaniment for ice-creams and cakes.

Click here to learn all about this traditional Bienmesabe recipe.