Mountain Easter – Coconut Strawberry Cheesecake

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This afternoon, I returned home from a long, fun filled and chilly weekend in the North Carolina mountains. Between a lot of gossiping, dog walks and a (singular) hike, we spent our time enjoying a good amount of food and drink. Friday night cocktail hour was entertained by grilled shrimp in serrano ham and a grilled crostini with pea puree. After a trip into Boone to Appalachian Mountain Brewery on Saturday night, we enjoyed an afternoon board game with a display of pastel deviled eggs — followed by a late night dinner of grilled rack of lamb, domino potatoes, grilled asparagus and tomato salad and this stunning Coconut Strawberry Cheesecake. Life is far from hard on these escapes with great friends, comfortable living, breathtaking views and an awesome kitchen to cook in.

I made this cake on Friday morning before headed off to the mountains. This dessert is awesome because it can be prepared in advanced, then decorated prior to serving. I recommend a white chocolate bunny once your friends devour your decorative malted milk eggs the night before…

This cake is light, delicious and perfect for spring. The creme of coconut is a totally new ingredient to me — you can find it in The Fresh Market cocktail section next to the margarita mix!

I’ll post more recipes from the weekend over the next several days!

Crust

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Filling

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (The Fresh Market sells “Coco Real” in a squeeze bottle)
  • 1/4 cup coconut rum (I used a guava rum because it was already in the house!)

Topping

  • 3 1-pint containers strawberries, stemmed, sliced

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush spring form cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Blend crumbs, coconut, sugar, and remaining butter in medium bowl. Press mixture over bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until lightly browned at edges, about 10 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat first 4 ingredients in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and rum. Pour batter over crust. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough water to roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of cake pan. Cover roasting pan with foil.

Bake cake 1 hour. Remove foil. Bake until cake is pale brown, puffed, and just set in center, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in water bath 2 hours. Remove from water; run knife around cake to loosen. Chill cake in pan 3 hours before removing from the pan. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Decorate with strawberries!

 

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