This Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake is the perfect example of why I never tire of baking and pastry. I’m not even sure how it came about but if you go through the blog you will find other recipes on the same theme. I love the flavors of Piña Colada.
This one and one half inch cheesecake is so creamy and rich you won’t believe it is so easy. The Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake sits on top of a coconut and graham cracker crust. That is the almost part. It takes about 10 to 12 minutes to bake it. It could be used without baking but it gets too soft if refrigerated for a couple of days and just doesn’t have the same punch. The toasted coconut makes all the difference and gives you the first taste of what’s to come.
There are a couple of ingredients that are not pantry shelf items. The first is cream of coconut. Do not confuse this with coconut milk – they are vastly different. One cannot be substituted for the other. There are several brands and this is the one available to me.
Cream of Coconut
I have seen it have a heavy white semisolid mixture at the top of the can with a dark, translucent liquid at the bottom. When whisked together it becomes an off white liquid. There might even be a few shreds of coconut. Then the one I used for this recipe, was just the translucent liquid. Either is fine.
This is a popular, light combination of Caribbean rum with coconut liqueur. I buy it in the small airline or single serve bottles that can be found in some grocery stores or liquor stores for sure. The bottle contains ¼ cup which is perfect for the Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake.
Remember when I posted about the many things to know about the food processor. In that blog I talked about not liking whipping the cream in it. Well, for this recipe it works just great. The lack of air in the whipped cream adds to the smooth, velvet, dense texture of the cheesecake.
The finishing touch to this Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake is the Caramelized Pineapple. The slight tartness of the sauce contrasts beautifully with the cheesecake. It is important to use somewhat under ripe pineapple so it doesn’t turn to mush when caramelizing. This is excellent used as a sauce in many ways.
I have to admit I am really, really excited by this simple dessert. I have been finishing a project lately that has kept me tied to the computer with not a lot of creativity involved. This was fun!
Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake
Coconut Graham Cracker Crust
Purchased graham cracker crumbs may be used if desired. Just combine the coconut, crushed between your hands, the crumbs and powdered sugar. Whisk together, then add the butter as called for.
1 cup unsweetened coconut (40 grams or about 1 ⅓ ounces
⅔ cups graham cracker crumbs (85 grams or 3 ounces or 5 ½ double crackers)
½ cup powdered sugar (65 grams or about 2 ¼ ounces)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (85 grams or 3 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x3” cheesecake pan (or springform mold) with a non-stick baking release. Set aside.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet, making sure to push the edges together so there are no stray pieces of coconut that can burn. Toast for about 5 minutes until medium brown. Cool.
If using whole graham crackers you will need 5 ½ double crackers.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a processor. Process until crumbs form. Add the coconut and pulse in just to mix.
Remove the contents to a bowl and add the butter mixing with a fork to form large crumbs. Press into the bottom of the pan making sure it is firmly attached to the side of the pan.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let the crust cool for no more than 4 or 5 minutes. You will notice it has pulled away from the side slightly. With a soup spoon, press the crust against the side of the pan so there is no gap. We referred to this as "spooning the crust" at the bakery. This will keep the filling from sliding down the opening.
Cool completely. Turn the oven off. It won’t be needed again.
Wipe the bowl of the processor clean with a paper towel.
Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake Filling
1 tablespoon gelatin
¼ cup Malibu Rum*
16 ounces cream cheese, softened (454 grams)
1 cup powdered sugar (130 grams or 4 ½ grams)
1 cup cream of coconut**
2 teaspoon coconut extract
1-8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry
1 cup heavy cream
*If you don’t wish to use alcohol, add the gelatin to ¼ cup water and increase the coconut extract to 1 tablespoon.
**Pour the contents of the can into a bowl. It may or may not have separated. In any case whisk it to combine it.
Stir the gelatin into the Malibu Rum or water until it dissolves. Set aside.
Whip the cream in the processor fitted with the S blade until stiff. Remove to a large bowl.
Without cleaning the processor bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Process until smooth, scraping down as necessary.
Add the cream of coconut and coconut extract, processing to mix well. Heat the gelatin in the microwave until liquid, about 10 seconds. Pour over the contents in the processor bowl and pulse several times to mix in. Pour this over the whipped cream, along with the pineapple.
Fold together immediately and pour over the crust.
Refrigerate until set – about six hours or overnight.
3 cups fresh pineapple chunks, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup golden or corn syrup
¼ cup packed brown sugar (50 grams or 1 ¾ ounces)
1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum, optional
Place the butter, golden or corn syrup and brown sugar in a skillet large enough to hold the pineapple. Melt together and continue cooking until the pan is covered in bubbles. Add the pineapple. Continue cooking at a boil until the sauce reduces and coats the pineapple. Serve warm over the Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator if made ahead. Microwave briefly to warm.
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