Saturday, November 10, 2007

a tropical birthday cheesecake...

We were recently commissioned to create a tropically themed cheesecake for a client and friend who greatly enjoys vacation cruises and tropical destinations. Always up to a challenge, we hurried to the orenji catering test kitchens to see what we could come up with... After some experimentation, we were extremely pleased with the results , as was the birthday girl!

The cheesecake started with a bittersweet chocolate and toasted macadamia nut crust. Sweet, nutty, and crunchy, it created the perfect base for the next layer of this sensational tropical dessert.

A layer of oven caramelized fresh Hawaiian pineapple topped the chocolate-mac nut crust. Tossed with a dash of brown sugar and sea salt, the pineapple was slow roasted until candy-soft and caramel brown, the slow heat releasing the natural sugar of the sweet fruit. The textural contrast between the crunchy crust and the soft fruit was the perfect compliment to the smooth cheesecake filling we prepared next.
The chocolate crust and caramelized pineapple was covered with a smooth and creamy (and sugar-free!) cheesecake base infused with the subtle taste of Tahitian vanilla bean. Not overly sweet, the cheesecake provided a backdrop of vanilla tones which complimented the caramelized pineapple without overpowering it.
Following baking, the cheesecake was drizzled with Belgian milk chocolate (for color contrast and flavor), and the sides rolled in fresh grated toasted coconut. Altogether it was a delicious dessert, evocative of tropical breezes, blue waves, warm temperatures, and never-ending sunshine!

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