Better than a year ago- in fact Winter of 2013- we took a trip to Florida to visit our dear friend from junior high/ high school friend who just happens to live in Florida- and where it just happens to be a bit warm in the winter. And of course we always have a wonderful time no matter the season or the place when we're with Gay. While there I had the most amazing Coconut Cheesecake- I mean really, really, really, really good Coconut Cheesecake- and though I'm a huge fan of most things coconut, I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake. But this cheesecake was amazing. So when we returned to Cincinnati, I began the process of deconstruction. After much thought- and a bit of practicing- I found the Coconut Cheesecake that was just as good as the one I'd had in Florida. In fact it's probably better, but then I'm probably not completely objective.
Well when last week our good friends from Oklahoma, Clare and Oliver, came for a visit- and of course a tour of our new kitchen. Why, I can't imagine how anyone can resist visiting for a tour of our new kitchen- and even better a chance to cook in our new kitchen. Though I had a peach cobbler ready when Clare and Oliver arrived (the peaches are absolutely amazing this year- the best they've been in a couple of years!), because Clare's brother, Joe, was joining us for the weekend I decided we really needed something more- just a bit more. As we were bouncing around ideas- I always start with my "go to" chocolate cake (not to be confused with Grandma Lucas' Chocolate Cake), Don- who is no fan of chocolate decided he needed to steer us away from chocolate and announced that he thought the Coconut Cheesecake I'd made last year was just the thing we ought to make. Well there was no argument from me, so Coconut Cheesecake it was!
Now this is no ordinary Coconut Cheesecake. It is THE COCONUT CHEESECAKE! It takes coconut to an all new level. Bet you can't eat just one bite. This was one dessert that didn't end up wandering to a neighbor after we'd tired of it. Not this one. Don made sure of that.
The foundation for the recipe comes from a young blogger from Alaska which served as a spring board for all the great memories of our winter adventure with Gay.
But enough of that. It's time to start cooking.
First- did I mention that this is a "Coconut" Cheesecake. Oh yeah- lots of coconut!
But of course you can't just use coconut, so we gathered the other ingredients up as well.
So let's get start cooking!
Coconut Graham Cracker Crust:
Graham Crackers- 1 package of crackers from the box, ground fine in a food processor
Melted Butter- 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar- 1/4 cup
Shredded Unsweetened Coconut- 1/4 cup (you can substitute sweetened coconut if you'd like)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix all crust ingredients together.
Press into a 9 inch springform pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Cream Cheese- 2 packages of 8 ounce size
Sour Cream- 1 cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Corn Starch- 1 Tbsp
Eggs- 3- well beaten
Cream of Coconut- 1 cup
Vanilla- 1 tsp
Coconut Extract- 1/2 tsp
Flaked Coconut: 1/2 cup
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Whip the cream cheese and the sour cream. This is when it is really, really nice to have a stand mixer. Though it would be possible to do with hand mixer, I really wouldn't want to try!
Mix the sugar with the corn starch then add to the well mixed cream cheese and sour cream.
While mixing, add the beaten eggs 1 Tbsp at a time.
Mix in the Cream of Coconut and then the vanilla and coconut extract. Make sure everything is well mixed. It will look very smooth!
Place the springform pan in a bed of aluminum foil. You're going to cook the cheese cake in a "water bath" and don't want any of the water to leak into the pan! Pour the mixture into the pan.
Place the pan into a large roasting pan and add hot water to the pan being careful not to get any within the foil.
Cook for 65-75 minutes. I rotated the pan half way because it was browning unevenly.
It is done when the top is browned and almost all of the jiggle in the middle is gone.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for AT LEAST 8 hours.
Top with Toasted Coconut after refrigerated. I toasted the coconut in 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.
Serve it plain!
Or with Whipped Cream!
Or with Whipped Cream and Raspberries!
Don likes his plain! I like mine rather dressed up!