Alton Henry's rum and raisin cheesecake
Chef Alton Henry from St Thomas, has created a sizzling repertoire of dishes that he calls Nouvelle Caribbean Cuisine. He appears regularly on network television in New York, showing off among other delights, his jerked chicken pasta and his rum and raisin cheesecake. He wowed a number of Caribbean Americans recently with the cheesecake at the recent book launch of Jean Lowrie-Chin's Soul Dance in New York. Today, he shares his recipe with Food readers.
Rum and Raisin Cheesecake
Chef Henry's cheesecake is combined with rum and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and some rum-soaked raisins to create this wonderful dessert. It is a great cheesecake to have year-round, but it is especially appreciated during the Christmas holidays when many of us think about exciting new additions and alternatives to the Jamaican fruit cake. Don't be shy to try this insanely delicious treat. It's a lot easier to make than the fruit cake and you will be glad you did!
(For The Crust)
2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar or 1 can 14 ozs sweetened condensed milk
2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp almond extract
1 cup rum-soaked raisins
1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Mix Graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter together. Press on bottom and sides of a nine-inch spring-form pan.
3. Combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar and beat until smooth. Add allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract. Blend in the raisins, flour and pour into the crumb crust.
4. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 35 minutes or just till set. Cool.
5. Chill well, about four or five hours. Serve as is or topped with your favourite fruit topping or Chef Henry's coconut caramel sauce.
Coconut caramel sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Combine the sugar and coconut milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Simmer briskly until thick, golden and very flavourful, about five minutes, whisking often. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. Place it in a deep bowl. (Can be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let the sauce return to room temperature before using.)