Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A Bit of Aloha to Celebrate


We have a saying here at our house, "Costco got me", and that was true yesterday as I was strolling the aisles.  A friend calls Costco The Promised Land!  After inhaling the perfume from the pineapples that were stacked high, reminiscent of our time in Hawaii a few weeks ago, I picked up a pineapple and some macadamia nuts, along with $200+ of other things I can't remember, and headed home.  With my pineapple, some suspect cream cheese that was on the cusp of expiring, and the macadamia nuts, I decided to try and replicate the Pineapple Glazed Cheesecake that we had in Waimea at The Red Water Cafe.  To be honest, we devoured this dessert before taking a photo at the restaurant, so I really can't remember if it was a baked cheesecake or not, but the bruleed top was what made this memorable.  So, this is my take on that memorable dessert, and I'm making it to celebrate California opening up soon, and we are all finally vaccinated.  

Pineapple Bruleed Cheesecake

For the Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 9-inch cheesecake or springform pan with aluminum foil, and coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  
Put the crumbs, macadamia nuts, and brown sugar into a food processor.  Process until the nuts are chopped.  Add the butter, and stir to combine.
Press the crumbs into the pan and up the sides.  Bake for 15 minutes.  

For the Filling
Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 to 3 tablespoons dark rum
2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
raw sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese and sugar, until smooth.  
Add the vanilla and the eggs and beat until smooth.  
Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated.   
Pour the mixture onto the crust, smoothing the top.  
Arrange the pineapple on the top and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes until set.  
Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar until the cheesecake cools.   
When the cheesecake is cooled, sprinkle the pineapple with the sugar, and using a brulee torch, caramelize the pineapple.  If you don't have a brulee torch a broiler will work.  Cool completely and refrigerate.  Remove from the refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.  

A few notes:  
  1. Only make this with the best pineapple, right now gold pineapples are available in your markets.  The only test of ripeness is by aroma---so smell that pineapple---pineapples are picked ripe, so if you want for that pineapple to ripen on your counter, it will begin to ferment.  Also, the photo shows sliced pineapple, since I'd sliced up the pineapple before I knew that I would be making this dessert.  At the restaurant there was a lot of chopped pineapple on the top and that woudl be my preferred method of topping this cheesecake.  
  2. I prefer Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, these were the only ones available at Costco.  
  3. Cheesecakes are best at room temperature, instead of ice cold.  
  4. My 21 year old Dacor convection ovens are on their last legs, the bottom oven has quit, the top is still "working"---note the quotes, so I have ordered new Cafe double wall ovens which should be arriving in the end of July....this whole supply chain thing is cutting into my cooking!  I'm just grateful to have one oven working.  

Chopping the nuts with the crumbs ensures that you won't get nut butter

Going into the oven

A little overbaked, but I'll blame that on the oven

Brulee torch covers a multitude of sins, and as Julia Child said, every woman needs a blow torch

Ciao for now.