Tuesday, March 27, 2012
coconut almond cheesecake with chocolate ganache party
When it comes to CHEESECAKE, I'm a purist! My favorite is rich, creamy, dense, smooth, New York style cheesecake, occasionally with cherry topping but I love it plain. It's one of my favorite desserts, which is surprising because it's usually not extremely sweet! I just love the subtle tang from the cream cheese and the buttery graham cracker crust. THIS cheesecake is anything but plain & offers everything in a NY style cheesecake PLUS coconut, almonds & chocolate.
I first fell in love with cheesecake as a kid. I remember being about 10 years old & riding my bike to Waltz Market & buying myself a whole Sara Lee frozen cheesecake. Do you remember those cheesecakes, in a disposable pie tin in a box? YUM!
I just received my April/May edition of Taste of Home magazine & was drooling over the cheesecakes on the cover & decided to immediately make one. I'm so glad I did; it's a winner! Everyone who tried it agreed & I hope you do too!
Almond Joy Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coconut extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place a greased 9 inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 inch square. Securely wrap foil around exterior of pan.
2. Crust: In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds; stir in butter. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool.
3. Filling: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Beat in coconut extract. Add eggs, beat on low just until combined. Fold in coconut. Pour into crust. Place springform pan on a large baking sheet; add 1 inch of boiling water to larger baking sheet.
4. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes or until center is just set. Mine was perfect at 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen edges of cheesecake from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Unfortunately, I'd say that the overnight refrigeration is a must. The flavor is so much better the next day. In fact, the next time I will make this 2 days in advance.
5. Ganache: Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips; whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool to reach spreading consistency, stirring occasionally. (If you have extra ganache, it keeps in the fridge for up to a week & makes a DELICIOUS hot fudge sauce for ice cream. Just reheat it over low heat.)
6. Remove rim from springform pan. Spread chocolate ganache over cheesecake. Refrigerate until set. Garnish as desired. I added chopped almonds to the sides of the cheesecake and topped it with whipped cream & toasted coconut.