The ingredient this week is Pineapple. I love fresh pineapple, and it's one of my favorite things to eat whenever we visit Hawaii. It's a little more challenging finding good pineapples here in Alaska, but they can be found, albeit not as sweet as what we normally get in Hawaii.
I decided to share a recipe that I've made before. It was a recipe that I developed for a Daring Bakers Challenge three years ago. Our challenge was to take a basic cheesecake recipe, and add our own twist to it. I came up with this wondeful Pina Colada Cheesecake. If you're a fan of cheesecakes, pineapple and coconut, splurge on this. You will not be sorry.
PINA COLADA CHEESECAKECrust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup shredded coconut, toasted
1 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together the crust ingredients and press into bottom and up sides of aa 8 or 9” springform pan. (Wrap heavy duty foil around bottom of pan, 2 layers, so the water bath doesn’t seep into the crust.) Set in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
3 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk(I used the thickest part from a can of coconut milk)
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 vanilla bean
½ teaspoon coconut extract(can omit if you don’t want a stronger coconut flavor)
3 tablespoons dark rum
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer). Cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Be sure to scrape down the bowl between each egg. Add coconut milk, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, lemon zest, coconut extract and rum. Blend until smooth and creamy, but do not overbeat.
Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place the pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done. This can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from the oven and carefully lift out of the water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and refrigerator until overnight.
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 cup rum
½ cup toasted coconut
½ cup toasted macadamia nuts or pecans, chopped
Place pineapple in a small saucepan. Stir the cornstarch and sugar together and add to the pineapple. Heat to boiling. Cook and stir until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Take off heat and cool. Add the rum and stir until combined.
When topping is cool, spread over top of cheesecake and sprinkle the toasted coconut and chopped nuts on top.