Some of my best ideas come to me in the middle of the night. I actually thought this one up at about 3 AM. I'd been kicking around a coconut cheesecake recipe trying to perfect it for the coconut contest last week, but I missed the deadline and was getting sick of working on the same cheesecake recipe over and over (as was my boyfriend, who was my chief guinea pig--I mean, taste tester).
And then the new contest came along and the idea came to me in the night. I could cut out all the nonsense and freeze the pie! More R&D: no egg, no baking, I reduced the coconut milk to remove some of the water for better texture after freezing, and combined the graham cracker crust with the the original cheesecake recipe's coconut-almond "croccante". As I type this now, I've just discovered coconut cream, which I could probably use in place of regular coconut milk. But what's done is done (and in the freezer), so I'll leave that for another midnight breakthrough. —Elizabeth Rex
Coconut-Almond Pie Crust
sweetened coconut flakes
graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
pinch of salt
14 oz can coconut milk (not lite)
cream cheese, softened
In This Recipe
In 350 degree oven, toast almonds and coconut for about 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool, and combine. Mix one 1/2 cup of the coconut-almond mix with the graham crackers. Reserve the remaining coconut mix for later use.
In a small pot over medium low heat, melt butter and brown sugar until the sugar is no longer grainy. Add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Add the crumb mix and pinch of salt, and stir until coated. Transfer the mix to a pie plate and while still hot, press in the crust with a spatula. (Please don't run the risk of burning your fingers by pressing it in by hand!) Let the crust cool for about 15 minutes, then continue chilling in the freezer.
Wash out the same pot (or if it's pretty clean, go ahead and use it) and heat coconut milk and granulated sugar over medium heat until it reaches a rapid simmer. Lower the temperature and stir in cardamom. Let reduce by nearly half, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in whipped cream. Slowly mix in (still warm) reduced coconut milk. Pour the filling into the crumb crust. Tap the pie plate gently on the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and then top the pie with the reserved coconut-almond mixture. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Before serving, let the pie thaw at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes, but for best results, let it thaw in the fridge for about 50 minutes.