Combining lemongrass and coconut milk with cheesecake creates a fusion that would be fun to serve after a Pacific Rim meal.
Serves 10 to 12
• 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) butter cookie crumbs
• 1/4 cup (50 mL) pecans, toasted and ground
• 3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter, melted
• 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk
• 4 packages (each 8 ounces/250 g) cream cheese, softened
• 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla extract
• Classic Whipped Cream Topping
• 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded sweetened coconut, toasted (see tip, below)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and prepare a 9-inch (23 cm) cheesecake pan, ungreased, or springform pan with 3-inch (7.5 cm) sides, greased.
In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.
In a saucepan, cook lemongrass and coconut milk over medium heat until milk starts to bubble. Strain milk and discard lemongrass. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until
very smooth, for 3 minutes. Add whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in coconut milk and vanilla.
Pour over frozen crust, smoothing out to sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven until top is light brown and center has a slight jiggle to it, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating or serving.
Ice top of cake with Classic Whipped Cream Topping or pipe rosettes around top of cake, if desired. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Lemongrass can be found in Asian markets and some supermarkets, often where the fresh herbs are displayed.
Coconut is often burned by pastry chefs. To avoid crying over burnt coconut, follow this technique. Spread coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 3 minutes. Check the coconut and stir. Set the timer for another 3 minutes. Repeat until coconut is lightly browned.
Substitute whipping (35%) cream for the coconut milk.
Recipe from THE CHEESECAKE BIBLE by George Geary
(Robert Rose, Inc.; October 2008; $24.95/trade paperback)