Coconut Cream Cheesecake – the ultimate indulgence for coconut lovers with toasted coconut in the crust & in the cheesecake batter for full coconut flavour!
I’d planned to develop a recipe for Coconut Cream Cheesecake for a quite a while now but never got around to it until this week. The inspiration, or maybe just the reminder, came from our server at Merchant Tavern last week, which I wrote about earlier. It was a visit that also inspired our newest chicken wing recipe: Southern Fried Wings with Chipotle Aioli and Honey Drizzle.
At the end of the meal she was describing the dessert specials when she inadvertently went off on a tangent about the incredible dessert she had the evening before at a different restaurant, which she didn’t mention by name. The dessert, by conscience was Coconut Cream Cheesecake. I said to Spouse, “I’ve been meaning to try something like that. We should do it next week.”
The discussion then ensued on how to infuse the most coconut flavour into a cheesecake and keeping it as creamy as possible. We both agreed that toasted dried coconut would be best because the toasting brings out more flavour. That idea had worked well in our recent recipe for Toasted Coconut Tea Biscuits. A little pure coconut extract would surely help too, we thought.
Finalizing the coconut flavour.
Finally we discussed how to incorporate coconut milk into the recipe. I was a little worried that the coconut milk would affect the creaminess of the final baked cheesecake if I substituted it for all of the whipping cream that I normally add in cheesecake recipes.
I settled on a blend of coconut milk and whipping cream as a balance, favouring the coconut milk to make up most of the blend. It worked very well indeed. I did notice that the coconut milk did make the cheesecake require a longer baking time. Not to worry though; even though it was in the oven at a low temp for 90 minutes, as you can see from the slice of cheesecake in the photo above it was still incredibly creamy and smooth.
I also worried about the texture of the coconut affecting the creaminess of the cheesecake but since we used fine cut, this did not turn out to be a problem at all. It was almost as smooth and creamy as our now famous Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie, which is one of the most popular recipes out of the over 1600 to be found here. I expect this recipe might just give that top hit a run for its money.
Trust me, this is one recipe all coconut dessert lovers just have to try.
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Coconut Cream Cheesecake - the ultimate indulgence for coconut lovers with toasted coconut in the crust & in the cheesecake batter for full coconut flavour!
- 1⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- 3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese (3 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coconut extract (optional)
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 3/4 cup coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp coconut extract ( or vanilla extract)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)
First toast 1 cup fine dried (desiccated) coconut. See note.
When the coconut is toasted reduce the heat to 300 degrees to keep it preheated for the cheesecake.
In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the toasted coconut) sugar and melted butter.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased or parchment lined 9 inch spring form pan. (Grease bottom only!) Parchment paper is ideal here because it makes it very easy to release the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. No need to grease the pan at all if you are using parchment paper.
Wrap the outside of the springform pan with a double or triple layer of aluminum foil. This performs 2 functions: buffering the direct heat to the pan so that the cheesecake bakes more evenly and secondly, it will catch any butter from the crust that may leak out while baking and hit the bottom of your oven. Preventing a smoky kitchen is always good!
Cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the coconut extract & vanilla extract.
Blend together the coconut milk and the 1/4 cup whipping cream and add it to the cheesecake batter, blending well until the batter is very smooth. Using a rubber bowl scraper/spatula, scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl as well as the electric beaters/paddle and give the batter a final beating for 1 minute on a higher speed. This final step ensures that there are no lumps in the batter and introduces a little air into the cheesecake to make it lighter.
Finally stir in the 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared base and bake at 300 degrees F for about 90 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary slightly. Mine takes the full 90 minutes.
Don't be an compulsive oven door opener! Don't open it at all in the first hour.
The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp knife completely around the edge of the pan. This will allow for the cheesecake to shrink as it cools and hopefully not crack (Allow the cheesecake to cool thoroughly on a wire rack at room temperature. (NOT in the fridge). Refrigerate after fully cooled.
Whip together the whipping cream, coconut extract and icing sugar until firm peaks form.
Use the cream to garnish the edges of the cheesecake and sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut.
To toast the coconut, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and sprinkle the coconut evenly in the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch baking pan. Bake for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Give the coconut a toss at least once to make sure that it browns evenly. Watch it closely. Dried coconut does still contain coconut oil and it can burn quickly once it's toasted.