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 chases Dara around. As a young girl, when she didn’t like her evening meal, she would get up and prepare something different, even though she could barely reach over the gas cooker at home. Dara first trained however as an interior designer at the Dublin Institute of Design. She then became a jewel designer, until she took to the kitchens as her preferred trade in Ireland, where she started out at the Little Caesar in Dublin.

She worked as room supervisor at the prestigious Nosh restaurant and was kitchen chef and restaurant coordinator at the restaurants belonging to the Cavistons Food Emporium. She then moved to the position of catering manager for cinema production teams. She also learnt the secrets to organic baking with master baker Marc Michel at the legendary Organic Life in Wicklow.

Meeting Maggy Lynch, the creator of the Soul Food Company, was for Dara the best boost for her cooking philosophy. This meeting proved to her that healthy eating –as her father used to insist- could also be her greatest pleasure.

Dara opened up her first premises in 2013, in the Gran Canarian capital. Dara Feeling Food enabled her to share her healthy delicious foods with others. With the backing of her family and the creators of Moba Showroom she was able to put her ideas into shape. Three years later, Dara took her recipes to a larger premises, at calle Travieso in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where she now shares her healthy menu, freshly baked bread and pastries, locally grown ecological products, yoga classes and much more. In 2018 she opened another new restaurant with the same name on the Gourmet Experience boulevard at El Corte Inglés department store along calle Mesa y López, at the heart of the capital city’s commercial hub.

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.