happy monday! for matt's birthday earlier in the month i made this amazing coconut cheesecake. matt isn't a huge chocolate and sweets person so a creamy cheesecake was the perfect option. i know coconut is one of those flavors people either love it or hate it, but around our house it falls into the LOVE category. i use it frequently when baking and always have both flaked coconut, coconut milk and coconut extract on hand. to be honest, i hadn't made a cheesecake since my "final project" in high school patisserie class (if you are wondering i got an A), so i was a tad bit nervous how it would come out (would the top crack? burn? would it set? would the crust get soggy?) i had a lot of doubts. but it came out better than i could have ever imagined, it was DELICIOUS! ii think i gave cheese cake factory a run for their money! enjoy!
Yields: one heavenly 10 inch cheesecake.
Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
heaping 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. If you are worried that your springform pan may not be completely watertight, place a layer of aluminum foil on the outside of the pan bottom and up the sides. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar and shredded coconut. Stir to combine.
4. When the flames burn off, remove the filets from the pan.
5. Pour the graham cracker mixture into the springform pan, and using your hands, press into the pan and up the sides.
6. Bake crust at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 ounces coconut milk (about half a can’s worth)
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
Toast Coconut Topping (optional):
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
3. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean paste (or extract, if using) and salt. Beat until smooth and combined.
4. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the bowl, adding about a tablespoon or so at a time and mixing well between each addition.
5. Add the coconut milk and extract, if using, and beat until combined.
6. Place the springform pan with the cooled coconut crust into a large roasting pan.
7. Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan.
8. Place the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven, and add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
9. Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes, or until the filling is set and only slightly jiggly in the center.
10. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, and remove the springform pan from the roasting pan.
11. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours before removing springform pan. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve.
12. Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter to a pan and melt over medium heat until melted.
13. Add 1/2 cup of flaked coconut to melted butter and mix until thoroughly covered with melted butter.
14. Continue to saute coconut flake until flake turns a golden brown color (3-4 minutes).
15. Remove coconut from heat, and place on paper towels to absorb any extra butter.
16. Prior to serving, remove cheesecake from refrigerator and add toasted coconut to top of cheesecake.