Who can resist an Island Coconut Cheesecake, drizzled with raspberry and mango puree? The cuisine of Jamaica is influenced by its diverse cultural heritage: Steamed coconut puddings from Africa, slowly stewed brown sauces come from English settlers; chow mein from Chinese residents, and curries from India. Tropical fruits and plentiful spices round out the mix.
“We’re blessed with excellent soil, so we are one of the world’s largest producer of spices,” said Donnie Dawson, a Kingston native and West Coast regional manager for the Jamaican Tourist Board. “Pimento, ginger, thyme, all-spice, mace, black pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa beans and scotch bonnet peppers are all grown here.”
Dessert in Jamaica often consists of dishes made from fresh fruits and vegetables — especially coconuts.
“Blue Drawers is a dish that dates back to the slavery days,” says Angela Thompson-Frazier, general manager of the Bar-B-Barn in Negril. “They would heat banana leaves and fill them with a mixture of bananas, coconut milk, cornmeal and sugar. Then they would fill the leaf, tie it and boil it.”
Other popular treats include sweet potato puddings, baked star apple, naseberries, poached otaheiti apples and coconut drops.
This Coconut Cheesecake recipe was inspired by one we enjoyed at Round Hill Golf, Tennis and Beach Club in Montego Bay. Hope you enjoy it!
Island Coconut Cheesecake
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 24 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup cream of coconut
- 3 1/2 oz flaked coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Whipped cream
- Flaked coconut
- Crushed almonds
- Raspberry and mango puree
- In a small bowl, stir together crust ingredients. Press firmly onto bottom and halfway up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until blended. Add remaining filling ingredients, beating at low speed until well combined. Pour mixture into crust.
- Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 55 to 65 minutes. Cheesecake is done when it springs back when lightly touched in center. Remove from oven and run knife around inside edge of pan.
- Cool cheesecake on wire rack at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover pan with foil and chill overnight.
- Spread top of cheesecake with whipped cream, the sprinkle with flaked coconut and chopped toasted almonds.
- To serve, drizzle raspberry and mango puree across plate and place a slice on top.