Substitutions Part 2: Raw Pineapple “Cheesecake” (No Nuts!)
Please read to the end for the recipe.
A funny thing happened while working on this post. It involves jello, pineapple and my mother, Cora. A little more on that later.
In my quest to help people with substitutions, I decided to write a three part series on substituting cashews in desserts. The first substitution, pine nuts, worked like a charm. You can see part one and the recipe here: Raw Lemon Thyme Pine Nut “Cheesecake”. It’s worth a read to get a better understanding why substitutions aren’t always straight forward.
This is a series on finding substitutions for cashews, especially in desserts. But because so many people can’t have nuts at all, I decided to make the this recipe completely nut free. I turned to coconut as the base ingredient and set out to see how it would all come together.
Opening 5 young thai coconuts, even for someone who is used to doing it (see how here: Young Thai Coconuts) is a bit labor intensive. But if you can get past that, the flesh of the young thai coconut makes a refreshing base for this “cheesecake”. I honestly would call it more of a soufflé cake, due to the texture.
Once again, I wanted the flavors to love each other and what loves coconut more than pineapple? Plus, the addition of fresh pineapple lightens up the coconut is a beautiful way. Think acidity cutting fat. So, in went one cup of fresh pineapple that got pureéd into the mixture and one cup of chopped pineapple to round things out.
I did everything else as I normally would and popped the little beauty into the refrigerator, thinking that I would photograph it the next morning. Imagine how surprised I was when I un-molded the “cheesecake” and it started to gently spread. It had not completely set up, even with an entire cup of coconut oil in the base. I was a bit astounded.
Knowing that adding more coconut oil or coconut butter would really start to affect the mouth feel and taste in a negative way, I instead tossed it in the freezer. A few hours later, voilá! A beautiful frozen dessert that tastes divine. But what about that setting up problem?
In comes Mom. I have to tell you something about my mother (who will not let me tell you how old she is, even though I want to so you can see how amazing women can be at all ages), she is a store house of little known facts. If you could have a partner at Trivial Pursuit, you would want my mom. When ever a question about almost anything comes up between my daughters and I, “Call Grandma” is the first thing that comes out of our mouths.
So, I am talking to my mom she asked me about the second dessert. “I had a little trouble with it setting up,” I say. “You know,” Mom says, ”You can’t use fresh pineapple in jello. It prevents it from setting-up.”
I jump on the computer and look up pineapple and jello. Now, jello or gelatin is a far, far cry from coconut. It is made from cow’s hooves and apparently the bromelain in fresh pineapple contains two enzymes that break down collagen which prevents the jello from setting up. Ok, I know. Coconut flesh is a far cry from gelatin but it did get me thinking enough to inspire me to try the same “cheesecake” with strawberries. Even though I don’t expect it to make a difference, maybe something interesting can be learned here.
For now, enjoy this refreshing raw Pineapple Coconut “Cheesecake” frozen. Make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving to soften a bit. And I will post the strawberry version next!
*Please note: Because this recipe is a substitution recipe, I don’t have a substitution for the substitution. So, if you don’t like, or can’t have coconut, I would suggest trying one of the many other dessert recipes on the site.
Raw Pineapple Coconut “Cheesecake”
- 4 dates, soaked until very soft
- 1 cup dried organic, unsweetened coconut
1. Place soften dates and coconut in food processor and process until well blended.
2. Pat into the bottom of an oiled 7 1/2 inch spring form pan.
- 2 1/2 cups young Thai coconut flesh (about 5 young coconuts)
- 1/4 cup coconut water (from the coconuts)
- 1/3 cup raw agave nectar or liquid sweetener of choice
- 1 cup coconut oil, softened
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, separated
1. In high-speed blender, pureé the coconut flesh and coconut water together until smooth.
2. Add the agave, coconut oil. You want this to be quite smooth so blend away until it is.
3. Add 1 cup of the pineapple chunks. Blend until incorporated.
3. Pulse the remaining pineapple chunks in the food processor until well chopped. Drain.
4. Stir the pineapple into the coconut mixture, pour over crust and let set up in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Move to freezer and leave until firm.
*You will want to remove 10 minutes before serving to let the “cheesecake” soften a little.