This is going to be cheesecake week it seems for my last week of my Pineapple/Coconut/Tropical/Hawaiian all the things month for May. I am a little bummed I didn’t get to ALL the recipes I had planned, but this was such a busy month and I promise I will still share them eventually. I may be without a kitchen soon – as we are FINALLY moving into our new house, the kitchen isn’t 100% done but we are so sick of being in a rental and want into our “home” not just a house. I know I TOTALLY need to do an update on the remodel. Suck a slacker I am, its more amazing than I had imagined it would be, so I will post that update soon! Also with having been so busy and not being able to get to the recipes I had planned, I have asked some friends to do guest posts for me for this month and next. And how totally fitting and appropriate for this blog than to ask none other than Monica aka The Grommom ,who lives on the island paradise of Oahu, to do a post for me.
Monica and I ” met” via our blogs pages on facebook and we have been chatting online and via email since. I love the sense of community that blogging has that brings together people from all over the world that probably wouldn’t normally meet otherwise. Monica and I have a lot in common besides a love for Hawaii and all things tropical. She is into health and fitness, loves to cook hates to wash dishes, loves coffee and so many other things. She has 4 absolutely adorable sons that she home schools – I am in awe of that. I don’t think I could home school my 2 daughters. Well, I could, until they have math then I would be in trouble. Math was never my strong point. They would be amazing at painting and making messes in the kitchen though. ha ha.
Monica is also married to a Dr. who went to school in Portland, OR. where my family and I just moved from. Lots in common. So when I asked Monica if she was interested in doing a blog post for me I was stoked she was up for it. I live on Hawaii vicariously through her amazing sunset photos from her house and I can’t get enough of her beach pics on her Instagram. Seriously follow her if you aren’t already, her instagram is @thegrommom. I am also totally envious of all the amazing tropical fruits that grow on her property. She even mentioned once on her facebook page that she thinks she might plant coffee on her property!! ( I think I might move on to her property. I have a tent, I won’t take up much space I swear). Hawaiian grown coffee is the BEST!!!
So here is Monica with these AMAZING tropical cheesecake bars that she made for you all today. She’s so awesome for doing this and she even made them gluten free AND regular so anyone can enjoy them! And the fruits used are from her yard and local farmers!! Who wants to go visit her with me ASAP!?!
It was a happy day when I discovered Shanna here at Pineapple and Coconut. We have so much in common, and I just know that if we were neighbors we’d be sharing a lot of coconuts over the fence. And bananas. And Mai Tais. Wouldn’t that be fun?
I’m really excited to get to share a little post over here, and of course the hardest thing for me to decide was WHAT kind of tropical treat to create! Everything fell into place when my mom and dad arrived on island for a visit, and Mom brought with her a little stack of recipes she was hoping we could try. My father was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so we are on the fast-track to learning about all kinds of gluten-free cooking. There are a lot of great gluten-free recipes out there, but our favorite thing is to take some good old favorites, tweak them, and turn them into a gluten free delight.
When I saw a recipe for a tropical themed cheesecake, I knew I had something to work with. After a few practice rounds, we think we just struck gold. The family scored it somewhere around a 16/10, and talked about it for about three straight days, so I think it’s a winner. I’m pretty sure Shanna will enjoy it, and I only wish I could send her a big batch in the mail!
First a little background:
We grow a lot of tropical fruit at our North Shore country home. After a recent harvest of coconuts, I’ve been playing with a lot of them in my cooking. (for a little video demo on coconuts, you can check out this post.)
It also happens to be LYCHEE season around here. We don’t have a lychee tree, but they’re all over the place, so we love to stop and buy some from a local farmer.Have you ever tasted a lychee? They peel open and inside is a slimy ball that slightly resembles an eyeball. Thankfully, they don’t taste like eyeballs. Not that I’ve ever tasted an eyeball. That would be really gross. Lychee are incredibly sweet, and juicy, and I just know you’d LOVE them!
So, once we came up with a delicious gluten-free crust, we blended up a cream cheese filling by combining cream cheese, with a tropcial juice–either POG (Passion Orange Guava,) or simply orange juice.
With a bit of toasted coconut and lime rind in the crust, this makes for an incredibly refreshing dessert.
This recipe made for one 9X9 pan of cheesecake bars, but I’m pretty sure next time I’ll double it. These were gone really REALLY quickly.
I especially enjoyed them with a squeeze of lime, and a cup of green tea. Mmmmm.
Our first batch was topped with fresh papaya, toasted coconut, and lychee chunks. It was a tropical heaven.
- ¾ cup chopped raw nuts. (I used a mix of almonds and walnuts.)
- 2 T toasted coconut
- 2 T sugar
- 1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel.
- ¼ C melted butter
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ C sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice, or POG (Passion-orange-guava.)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ANY combination of:
- toasted coconut, chopped papaya, pineapple, LYCHEE, mango,
- Whipping cream.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut in a 9X9X2 inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, 4 or 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Cool.
- FOR CRUST: Place 2 Tbsp. of toasted coconut in a food processor. Add chopped nuts, 2 Tbsp of sugar, and the lime peel. Gradually add melted butter, processing with on-off turns until combined well. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake 10-14, watching so that the crust turns golden but doesn’t burn. Cool slightly on a wire rack, about 15 minutes.
- FOR FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, the ⅓ cup sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Add the POG (Or orange juice.) Beat until smooth. Stir in egg. Pour over the baked crust. Bake between 15-20 minutes, watching so that center is just set. Cool on wire rack. Cover and chill at least two hours.
- CUT into squares. Top with your choice of tropical fruits and whipped cream.
- Take a big bite and FALL IN LOVE….
- From monica, @www.thegrommom.com
Like I mentioned in the printable recipe, you can simplify this recipe by buying a ready-made graham cracker crust. (Or make your own.)
For my second round I used a store-bought graham cracker crust. I wasn’t planning to share photos, but then I started to think that maybe a few of you (like me,) appreciate short cuts, and might be more likely to try it if you knew it was THIS EASY. So, in honor of you–I’ll share my less than glamorous photos.
This time I used POG in the filling, and topped it with a simple combination of shredded coconut and thin pineapple slices. Oh yeah, and whipping cream.
Another score! The kids LOVED it with this crust. It came out a little thicker in the pie version, which was also quite nice.
Happy BIRTHDAY MONTH Shanna! Sending you many tropical dreams from our island….to yours…ALL YEAR LONG!
Thank you all for letting me be a guest here.
Aloha to you,
Monica, and her family, in the country, on the North Shore of Oahu.
Seriously how beautiful is Monica and her family? Those boys of hers!! What cuties!! Thank you Monica – I can’t wait to make these!!
You can find Monica at her fabulous blog, The Grommom
On Twitter HERE
On Bloglovin HERE
On Facebook HERE
And again her Instagram is @thegrommom
You will fall in love with all her Hawaii pics like I have!