James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Avocado Lime Cheesecake with Oatmeal Brittle Crust

I am posting this recipe at the request of my webmaster, Nora McDougall-Collins, who’s a  great cook herself!

I created the recipe a few years ago for a James Beard Foundation contest featuring oatmeal. In addition to oatmeal I had to include a number of produce ingredients that were shipped to me. I could devise any type of recipe I wanted. I chose to make a cheesecake with avocado, served with a  blueberry ginger sauce.

The contest turned out to be based on the  popularity of the recipe. The recipe creator that garnered the most votes won $5,000 to donate to a charitable cause. I campaigned furiously for the Missoula Food Bank and my recipe ended up in second place. So no $$ prize, except this is a terrific recipe I’m happy to share with you all.

Avocado Lime Cheesecake with Oatmeal Brittle Crust

This is a rich, creamy, smooth, no-bake cheesecake with a crust made from oatmeal brittle, oats, and walnuts. A gingered blueberry sauce, sweetened with some of the powdered brittle, adds a zesty finish. Make the brittle first. You’ll have much more than you need for the crust and sauce, so you can enjoy leftovers as a special candy treat.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 generous servings


  • 9-inch Springform pan
  • Food Processor
  • Silicone pan liner
  • 2 rimmed baking sheets
  • Candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer


Oatmeal Brittle

  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup Can substitute agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

Oatmeal Brittle and Walnut Crust

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pulverized oatmeal brittle
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter warm is okay

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 1 tablespoon
  • 2 medium avocados about 9.5 ounces of flesh
  • 2 8 ounce packages regular cream cheese or 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Blueberry Ginger Sauce

  • 12 ounces fresh blueberries generous 2 cups, rinsed, drained, and picked over to remove stems
  • 1/3 cup pulverized oatmeal brittle
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced or grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons water


Making the Oatmeal Brittle

  • Have ready a silicone baking pan liner set on a rimmed baking sheet. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the oatmeal on another rimmed baking sheet and set it on the rack. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the oats are a toasty golden brown. Turn the oven off and open the oven door to keep the oats warm.
  • In a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan (3-quarts) combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and water with a wooden spoon, and set the pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the butter, but do not stir. Bring sugar liquid to the boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and cook 3minutes. (This step will wash down and melt any remaining sugar crystals). Uncover the pan, and continue cooking the syrup, swirling the saucepan by its handle occasionally, until the syrup is dark brown, thick, and bubbly and registers 290 to 300 degrees F on an instant-read or candy thermometer.
  • Take the pan off heat and immediately add the warm oats--the warm oats will keep the syrup from turning hard. Stir vigorously for a few seconds, then pour the hot brittle onto the silicone liner. Working rapidly, press and spread the brittle with the wooden spoon until it’s about 1/4-inch-thick. Let cool completely.
  • Break off a few pieces of brittle—about 1/5 or so of the batch—and pulverize them in a blender or food processor. You’ll want to wind up with about 1 cup of finely ground brittle, almost a powder. It’s okay if a few tiny pieces of brittle remain.

Oatmeal Brittle and Walnut Crust

  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have ready a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Put the oats, walnuts, brittle, cinnamon, and salt into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse 8 times. Add the melted butter and pulse 10 times to combine. Transfer crumbs to the springform pan and press firmly and evenly to make a compact layer. If crumbs feel sticky, press on them with wax paper.
  • Bake 8 minutes, until crust smells fragrant. Remove pan from the oven and cool completely.

Cheesecake Filling

  • Put 1/4 cup lime juice into a small heatproof cup and sprinkle on the gelatin. Stir to combine and let stand 10 minutes (or longer) until gelatin is softened.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the avocado, cream cheese, lime zest, sugar, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice until smooth and thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop to scrape the work bowl as necessary to keep everything smooth.
  • In a small skillet, bring about 1-inch of water to the simmer over medium heat. Set the cup with the gelatin in the water and stir occasionally until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Gelatin should feel warm and will look clear. Add gelatin to the food processor and process about 30 seconds to incorporate thoroughly into the filling.
  • Scrape avocado filling into the pan with the crust. Spread level, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, until cheesecake is set.

Blueberry Ginger Sauce

  • Put the blueberries into a medium heavy saucepan (2-quart) and mash with a potato masher to break up most of the berries. Stir in the pulverized brittle, lime juice, ginger, and salt and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sauce comes to the boil.
  • Cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the water. Sauce will be fairly thick. It may be used right away. Or you can make it ahead and when cooled, cover and refrigerate it. The sauce is delicious warm or cold.

Serving the Cheesecake  

  • To serve, run a small sharp knife around the cheesecake to release it from the sides of the pan. Unclamp the sides and lift it off the pan base. With a sharp knife, cut the cheesecake into 12 to 16 portions. Set each portion on a dessert plate and accompany with a spoonful of blueberry sauce on the side.

5 thoughts on “Avocado Lime Cheesecake with Oatmeal Brittle Crust”

  • Thanks for posting this Greg! My family loved the results, and the birthday girl felt very special for the work that goes into it. I did cheat and used quick oats because I had some on hand.

    What are your thoughts about substituting quick oats for rolled oats?

    • Quick oats are fine for this recipe. The contest folks sent me a huge container of old-fashioned rolled oats, so I used those.

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