Years ago I bought several Southern Living recipe collection cookbooks, and while I’ve found numerous recipes in them that I absolutely love, I think this cheesecake recipe is my family’s favorite. It’s creamy, easy to make, and it tastes like a trip to the tropics. My family requested this cheesecake for Thanksgiving this year instead of the usual pumpkin one I usually make, and it was a huge hit.
While this recipe is not Paleo, I did make it gluten-free as I used gluten-free graham-style cracker crumbs in the crust. You can’t tell the difference.
The key to making a good cheesecake is having ingredients at room temperature. The cream cheese and the eggs whip up easily at room temperature so you can get more air into your cheesecake batter. The one exception is the sour cream, but that is mixed in during the later stages, so I just pull that from the refrigerator when needed.
The original recipe calls for pecans in the crust, and it’s good that way, but I sometimes change it up and use macadamia nuts instead. I think it gives the cheesecake an even more tropical taste. Whichever nut you use, it will be delicious. 🙂
Pina Colada Cheesecake
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used gluten-free)
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (can use pecans)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup cream of coconut
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup light rum
4 teaspoons coconut extract (I usually use good vanilla extract)
Glaze (Ingredients and instructions below)
Garnishes: Whipped cream and toasted coconut
Stir together the first 4 ingredients, and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a lightly greased 10-inch springform pan. Set pan aside.
Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes, or until the cream cheese is fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the crushed pineapple and the next 4 ingredients, beating until well blended. Pour the batter into the crust.
Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes, or until the center is almost set. It will jiggle in the middle but firms up as it cools. Cool on a wire rack. Spread the glaze over top of the cooled cheesecake. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (plus the juice)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch mixture, crushed pineapple, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat, and cool completely before glazing the cheesecake.