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Kitchen Adventures: A coconut cheesecake fit for an Easter dessert

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

When you think of an Easter meal, a few constants come to mind such as ham, deviled eggs and an assortment of traditional side dishes.

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When I think of Easter dinner, some sort of coconut dessert is usually a must. A beautiful light and fluffy coconut cake with jelly beans on top is a favorite and coconut pie is absolutely delicious.

Honestly, I only recently discovered a taste for coconut. As my tastes have changed with age, it’s become a  favorite flavor. And, I love the smell of coconut.

While in a coconut state of mind, I decided to try something different. A recipe for Coconut Cheesecake sounded just right.

There was something in the recipe I hadn’t seen before and had to look up why the instructions included it. The recipe said to put the cheesecake pan inside a roasting pan with water to bake in the oven. This is supposed to keep the cheesecake from cracking in the middle while baking.

I was not convinced my springform pan was watertight so I skipped this step.

The recipe is described as “gluten free” and that is probably because of the crust. Instead of using a traditional graham cracker, the crust is made from coconut flakes tossed in butter and baked in the oven. I was a little suspicious of using it and thought it might be soggy but it turned out wonderful and really added to the coconut theme to the dish.

Because the can of coconut milk I had purchased smelt a little funny, I used refrigerated coconut milk found in a carton instead. Some things I read online said canned coconut milk is sometimes chunky and smells weird but it wasn’t a smell I wanted in my delicious cheesecake so I went another route.

Instead of using whipped cream from the freezer, make some yourself. It’s pretty easy. Put a bowl and the mixer beaters in the fridge for a bit to get cold. For enough whipped cream to top this dessert, use a cup of heavy whipping cream and a small amount of sugar to sweeten the cream. Mix until peaks from in the cream and it has the look and texture of whipped cream.

After learning how to make whipped cream a few years back, I rarely buy it anymore.

This cheesecake is light and not heavy with great coconut flavor. Of the coconut fans I gave samples to, 10 out of 10 thought it was a good recipe.

Have a blessed Easter.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.


Coconut Cheesecake (Gluten Free)

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 ounce packages) reduced fat cream cheese, softened.
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ounces cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, lightly beaten
7 ounce light coconut milk (about half a can)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 tablespoon melted butter

To make the crust, mix melted butter and coconut together and press into a 10 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden, set aside to cool slightly

For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vanilla. Beat until smooth and combined. Add the beaten eggs to the bowl, adding about a tablespoon or so at a time and mixing well between each addition. Add the coconut milk and extract until combined.

Place the springform pan with the cooled coconut crust into a large roasting pan. Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan.

Place 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.

Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until the filling is set and only slightly jiggly in the center.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the springform pan.

Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, refrigerate overnight or at least eight hours before removing from the springform pan.

Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut if desired before serving

Notes from the recipe creator: To avoid a soggy crust, cover the outside of your springform pan with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil before baking the crust to help seal the edges against the water bath.

Recipe from www.blueberriesandblessings.com