Coconut Key Lime Cheesecake
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs (from 12 full sheets)
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
3 tbsp granulated sugar
12 tbsp salted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces and melted
3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 large eggs
3/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rose water
1/8 tsp almond essence
2 tbsp coconut rum – optional
Juice from 2 limes – key limes, if possible (reserve zest)
1 cup cold heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp coconut extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
Coconut flakes, toasted
For the crust
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and the outside of it with a sheet of 18 by 18 heavy duty aluminum foil. Make sure the foil has no holes; you don't want any water to leak in. To be safe, place the foil-lined springform pan in a baking bag and tie to secure it.
2) Toast coconut flakes in a small frying pan on medium heat. It should only take 30-60 seconds if the pan is hot.
3) Add graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut flakes, and sugar to a mixing bowl and stir to combine, then pour in butter and mix with a fork until evenly moistened.
4) Pour into prepared springform pan and press evenly into bottom and up the sides coming about 1.5-2 inches from the top. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
5) Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Have a large roasting pan ready to place the springform pan in, and boil about 4 quarts of water (you may not need all of it).
For the cheesecake filling
6) In a large mixing bowl, add softened cream cheese, the pour in the sugar and add cornstarch. Use an electric mixer on a low to medium setting and blend until smooth.
7) Mix in eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add coconut cream and heavy cream, and mix until combined.
8) Mix in coconut extract, vanilla extract, rose water, and almond essence
9) Mix in coconut rum (optional) and lime juice.
10) Tap bowl against countertop several times to release any large air bubbles. Pour over cooled coconut-graham cracker crust.
11) Place cheesecake in roasting pan then place roasting pan in oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water around cheesecake pan to reach halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
12) Bake in preheated oven until cheesecake is nearly set but still jiggly in the center, about 60 minutes. Turn oven off and crack open oven door. Let cheesecake stand in the oven another hour. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Place in a cake container and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
For the topping
13) In a medium mixing bowl whip heavy cream using an electric mixer set on high speed until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla extract, and whip until stiff peaks form.
14) Spread the whipped cream over the entire cheesecake.
15) Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and lime zest.
Serve and enjoy!
For maximum freshness, store cheesecake in refrigerator for up to five days. Slice, wrap slices in plastic wrap and again in foil, and store in freezer for three to six months or deep freeze for up to one year.