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Author Notes: This is not your average—albeit yummy—diner cheesecake. Toasted coconut crust, creamy vanilla cheesecake, sweet mango slices and a fresh-fruit sauce made with strawberries and rhubarb make this cheesecake a real treat. Be sure to allow time for the cheesecake to chill in the fridge overnight; you can make the sauce just before you serve or ahead of time, as it will keep for 5 days.
—The Weiser Kitchen
Coconut Crust & Filling
- 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
- 1/2 cup pulverized graham crackers
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 bars cream cheese (8 ounces each), room temperature and softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 stalks rhubarb, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 16 strawberries, hulled, washed, and cut into chunks (2 cups)
- 2 mangoes, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Line the outside of the pan with 3 layers of foil pressed up against all sides to insure no leakage while baking, and set aside. Make sure you have a roasting pan that is 2 inches deep and large enough to hold the springform pan. (An aluminum pan that you can bend a bit works well.)
- Make the crust: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, allspice, and salt, and mix well. Add the melted butter. Use your fingertips to mix until the crumbs are coated; the texture should resemble wet sand.
- Press the crumb crust into the prepared springform pan and pat lightly but firmly to pack the crumbs down tightly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the softened cream cheese and sugar and whisk until fluffy. Add the sour cream and vanilla bean paste, and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between additions until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.
- Place the springform pan into the roasting pan. Pour the filling into the springform pan and rap it once on the work surface to remove any air bubbles.
- Pull the oven rack partly out of the oven and place the roasting pan and its contents on the rack. Gently pour 3 cups room temperature water into the roasting pan, making sure the water can’t touch the cheesecake batter in the springform pan, and then carefully slide the rack into the oven.
- Bake for 80 to 85 minutes, until the cake is just set with the middle still a bit jiggly. Crack open the oven door, turn off the oven, and let the cake sit for another 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the pan and place on a kitchen towel on the counter. Tent the cheesecake pan with foil, making sure the foil does not touch the cake. When the cake has cooled, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, tented loosely with the foil.
- Make the sauce: You can make this flavorful sauce while the cheesecake is baking or chilling, or wait until just before serving, or even as much as five days before you bake the cheesecake; it will keep. To make it, combine the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean paste, vinegar, ginger, and water in a medium saucepan set over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb has broken down.
- Add the strawberries and cook for another 2 minutes just to warm the fruit through. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely; remove the ginger and discard. The sauce will keep, covered, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Place the cheesecake on a serving platter and remove the springform ring. Peel and slice the mangoes and fan over the top of the cake. Serve the cheesecake with the sauce drizzled on top.