Feel the island breezes blow with every bite of this Coconut Macadamia Cheesecake. And while this cheesecake is rich, it is also refreshing with the citrus tang of lime zest and pineapple. The macadamia nuts and toasted coconut add just the right amount of decadence. The bits of lime zest make for a subtle yet pretty contrast to the silky, smooth, white of the filling. It’s such a happy cake!
So after a day of slogging at work or playing in the sun, this make-ahead dessert is the best reward. Another great thing about this cake is that it is not a ginormous cheesecake. It’s still just me and my husband at home and a 9-inch cheesecake would take forever to finish. The circumference is only 6 inches and will easily satisfy 6 of even the hardiest appetites. And it holds up beautifully for several days in the fridge.
I chose to use virgin coconut oil in place of butter in the crust. It just ramps up the tropical flavors and it is a 1:1 swap. If you don’t have coconut oil or prefer not to use it, just substitute with an equal amount of butter. And I used pre-toasted coconut that I buy from Nuts.com – a wonderful source for all kinds of dried fruits, nuts, flours, spices and treats. But, it also is easy enough to toast coconut yourself if you either don’t have access to this or simply don’t want to go that route.
As you read the recipe, you will notice that I layer the flavors to build the intensity. You will taste the coconut, rum and macadamia nuts in the base and topping. And the lime zest is in the filling and topping. So with every bite there will be the creamy filling along with the slight crunch of the nuts and toasted coconut. The pineapple on top just adds to the tropical notes. Lovely!
In order to get a perfect clean cut, run your knife under hot water first.
We are still not doing a lot of travelling, but eat this Coconut Macadamia Cheesecake and you will think that you are on a beautiful island with tropical breezes gently blowing.
My husband wanted me to add this comment from him:
I had my first piece of the Coconut Pineapple Macadamia cheesecake last night and was blown away. I had always thought that when chefs talked about a “particular balance of flavors” that it was just a bunch of hooey. I was wrong. This cheesecake isn’t merely delicious; it’s delicious from the first bite, as soon as that first combination of coconut, lime, pineapple, macadamia and other flavors hits your mouth.
NOTE: While I did not make this vegan, it easily could be since no eggs are required. Nowadays, there are delicious vegan substitutes for cream cheese and condensed milk. Check out my vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe for a recipe for vegan sweetened condensed milk at the end. This is my own recipe which is why I have not linked to anyone else.
For other delicious cheesecakes:
Yield: About 6 good servings
150 g of crushed biscuits (Digestive or graham crackers. While I love Digestive Biscuits, the graham crackers make for a somewhat less dense, lighter base. I have used both, but prefer the latter.)
70 g macadamia nuts (I used dry roasted with sea salt. If you use raw macadamia nuts then add about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt)
35 g unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup (113 g) virgin coconut oil, melted (If you use refined coconut oil there won’t be any of the coconut flavor that you want.) If you have neither, you can use butter.
8 oz. (225 g) full-fat cream cheese in a block, softened
1/2 cup (120 g) heavy coconut cream
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of one large lime
1 Tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tablespoon dark or light rum (Optional) (The alcohol cooks off and only the flavor remains)
14 oz. can (396 g) of Sweetened Condensed Milk
8 oz. can of crushed pineapple in juice
1/8 cup of light brown sugar (You could also use jaggery or demerara
Zest of half of a large lime
1.5 teaspoons corn starch
1.5 Tablespoons (44g) pineapple juice or water
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon rum (The alcohol cooks off and only the flavor remains)
About 1 Tablespoon chopped roasted macadamia nuts (Optional)
About 1 Tablespoon toasted shredded coconut (Optional)
Lightly grease the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan and line it with a round of parchment. You don’t have to do this but it will make it easy to transfer the cake off of the bottom of the tin.
Blitz the biscuits, nuts and coconut in a food processor or with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Do not wash the food processor. Just try to remove any excess crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and add the melted coconut oil. Mix until all of the crumbs are moist. It should feel like wet sand! Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 160 C.
Using a hand beater or the food processor (why dirty another utensil?) beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
In a smallish bowl, whisk the heavy coconut cream and corn starch until smooth. Add this to the cream cheese. Add the vanilla, sweetened condensed milk and lime zest. Blitz until the batter is completely smooth. Pour the batter into the pan over the crumb base.
Wrap the bottom of the pan in two layers of aluminum foil to prevent any leakage. Set the pan in a baking dish large enough to hold it. I used a 9-inch square pan. Carefully add hot tap water to the pan until it comes up about half-way up the sides of the springform mold. This creates a bain-marie.
Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the center just slightly jiggles. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar with the cheesecake inside. Keep the pan in there until your oven fan turns off or the cheesecake cools down. This prevents the crust from cracking.
Remove the cooled cake to a wire rack and using a sharp, flat blade, just carefully run it around the circumference of the cake. Cool the cake in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours.
Meanwhile make the topping. Place the crushed pineapple with its juice, sugar, zest in a heavy-bottomed pan. On medium heat, cook until the sugar dissolves. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water (that just means that you mix the two until there is a milky, smooth liquid). Add this to the pineapple mixture and bring it to a boil. Cook until the mixture thickens up. It doesn’t have to be totally solid as it will continue thickening in the fridge, but should be the consistency of a good jam. Allow the mixture to cool.
Add the cool mixture to the top of the cheesecake. I did it in the mold, but the original had you unmold the cheesecake and then add it. Your preference, but my way is easier if you don’t want a mess. Garnish with chopped macadamia nuts and toasted coconut (about 1 Tablespoon of each).
When you are ready to serve, unlock the springform and carefully remove the ring. You can then either leave the cake on the bottom for serving or it should come off easily once the suction has been broken. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy.