In last night's cooking class, we made a creamy, rich Coconut Cheesecake (recipe courtesy of our instructor Jan Sayvongsa). Not only is there coconut milk to the filling, but there are coconut flakes in the crust! So you're not just getting a hint of coconut flavoring in this cake, but experiencing a complete coconut tropical adventure in just one bite. Cheesecakes are so versatile, so for those who don't like this strong flavor, leave it out or add sour cream to the filling instead. Add crushed almonds to the crust rather than coconut flakes. But in the end, this cake was packed with moisture and a ton of flavor... a fun new twist to plain ole cheesecake.
What you'll need: Serves 12
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
8 whole graham crackers, broken (or gluten-free gingersnaps from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
4 8oz pkgs cream cheese (using 1/3 less fat tastes just as good)
2/3 cup sugar
1 15oz can coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
5 large eggs
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients in the food processor until finely ground and sticking together (about 1-2 mins). Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 in springform pan. Bake until golden, 15 mins. Allow to cool.
Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixture with paddle attachment until smooth. Add coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Pour mixture into cooled crust.
Bake cheesecake about 1 hour and 30 mins. Turn off the oven and cool cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Refrigerate overnight before serving. (personal side note: if you want your cheesecake to bake more evenly, cover the bottom of the springform pan with heavy duty foil and place in a warm water bath, then bake.)
For presentation, toast up some coconut flakes and sprinkle on top. Then your guests will know what kind of cheesecake they're about to eat!