Liliko’i, also known as passionfruit, could be one of my very favorite Hawaiian flavors. It is uniquely tart and sweet with a floral aroma and taste, truly unlike any other fruit I have enjoyed. It grows abundantly on a vine in fall and winter. It has a hardy thick yellow or purple skin that encases hundreds of seeds in each fruit. The seeds are surrounded by fleshy pulp. When strained from the seeds a velvety juice remains to add to desserts, juices, sparkling water, jams, and salad dressings. This “cheesecake” is made with liliko’i juice, coconut meat, coconut butter, local honey and a macadamia nut crust. A fun alternative to traditional cheesecake using local ingredients higher in nutritive value and wonderful flavors!
To strain liliko’i for juice, place the pulp and seeds together in a nut bag over a bowl or container. Squeeze the juice from the seeds and let it drain into your container.
Next I open my coconut. I started with a coconut with it’s husk. I sometimes buy coconuts that are shelled which can be opened with the back of a knife or hammer. For a coconut with the husk attached, I use a machete and chop off the bottom of the coconut until the shell is revealed. I then chop at the top of the shell creating a small opening from which I can drain the water. After draining the water, I chop the coconut vertically until it splits in half. For coconuts with no husk, just the shell, I cut open the soft eye and drain the water. I hold the coconut horizontally so the eye is facing away from me. I then hit the coconut with the back side of a sturdy chef’s knife and rotate it. I keep hitting it until I hear a flat spot in the shell. This is a soft spot on the shell. I keep hitting the coconut on this spot until it breaks in half. One of my favorite websites Food52 gives a great coconut opening demo on one of their pages.
Coconut meat can be very difficult to separate from the shell. The more mature the coco, the thicker the meat, thus the harder it will be to extract. An amazing tool to invest in is a sharp curved blade with a handle that will scoop the meat right out of the shell. I purchased mine from a friend however they can be found online.
For the crust I use Big Island macadamia nuts. I purchase them at the Healthy Hut or Hoku Whole Foods in bulk. They have the best flavor and are consistently fresh. I process the mac nuts in a food processor until crumbly. I add a little sea salt and coconut oil to make it cohesive. I then press the mix down into a springform cake pan and freeze for 15 minutes.
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2 1/2 Cups mac nuts
2 Tablespoon coconut oil liquid
1 Teaspoon sea salt
Place nuts in food processor with s blade until crumbly. Reserved 1/2 Cup for garnish. Transfer remaining nuts to a mixing bowl, add coconut oil and sea salt and incorporate. Transfer to springform cake pan and press mix down covering surface of pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.
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2 Cups liliko’i juice (about 20 liliko’i)
1 Cup coconut meat
2 Cups coconut butter
1 Cup coconut oil liquid state
1 Cup local honey
Place all filling ingredients in vita mix until very smooth. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Pour mix over crust, cover and refrigerate overnight until cake sets. Garnish with reserved chopped mac nuts and honey. Cut and serve!