I know I said last time that I was going to be posting some more savory themed dishes, but I couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you all. Like seriously couldn’t wait. One of my goals for 2020 is to create more of my own recipes, from scratch. From time to time, an idea will come to me, and I have to write it all down immediately, while it’s fresh in my mind. This is one of those ideas. I generally don’t make a whole lot of cheesecake desserts, mostly because my husband doesn’t really care for them. But once the idea of No Bake Coconut Mango Cheesecake Bars hit me, I couldn’t leave it be.
When I saw mangoes on sale at the store, I knew it was meant to be. I know that citrus is the “in” thing right now, but when have I ever followed trend? Generally I am late, but mostly because I follow my own schedule. I am sure I’ll have some ideas come to me soon regarding oranges.
Anyway- let’s talk about this dessert! Our weather has been so up and down and around this winter, that I felt that something tropical would be appropriate. While everyone got snow this past weekend, we got so.much.rain. Where’s the sledding snow mother nature!? So instead of being disappointed by the weather, I thought I’d cheer myself up with something tropical and bright. Enter these no bake coconut mango cheesecake bars.
When this idea started forming, I knew that I wanted the combination of mango and coconut. But, the catch is, mango can be finicky in the sense that, I have experienced the flavor completely disappearing when cooked. With that in mind, I knew that cooking it down to create a thicker layer was out of the question. I also didn’t want to purée it and combine it with the coconut for two reasons- one, I knew that it could potentially ruin the cheesecake filling by making it runny. And two, I really wanted that contrast of layers and flavors. So, to obtain that beautiful and bright mango layer, I decided to keep it simple by just puréeing mangoes and combining it with gelatin. It worked beautifully!
My next thought was the crust. I really wanted a nice, thick crust so it wouldn’t fall apart on me, and so the cheesecake filling wouldn’t seep through. This crust plays a double role, it’s a vessel for the cheesecake, but it also really is a layer in itself as well. It’s a simple crust of graham cracker crumbs, unsweetened coconut and butter. I also didn’t put any extra sugar in the crust because I wanted this dish to have its true flavors shine through instead of being overthrown by sugar. Lastly, the cheesecake layer I made super creamy by using a total of 16 ounces of cream cheese as well as drained coconut cream to make it uber creamy.
These no bake coconut mango cheesecake bars are seriously to die for. I generally have decent restraint, but after I ate one of these, I couldn’t resist eating another one. They are bursting with flavor, super super creamy and just bright and cheery. The coconut flavor is perfect in the filling, and the topping tastes just like eating a freshly cut mango. Cheesecake at it’s finest. And, they are no bake! These are a perfect way to brighten up a dreary winter day, or be the star of the dessert show at any gathering.
These are best eaten within 3-4 days, so you can certainly make ahead, just take that into consideration when planning.
These bars do need refrigeration time to allow the cheesecake filling and mango to set, minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.
Try to find mangoes that are super ripe and juicy. Otherwise, the taste will be bland and they won’t blend smoothly.
For the crust
- 3 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
- 16 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup chilled coconut cream*
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- pinch of salt
For the mango topping
- 2 medium, very ripe mangoes
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham cracker crumbs and shredded coconut until combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until combined and the mixture is like wet sand, about 10-15 pulses. Distribute the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, firmly pressing with a bottom of a glass or measuring cup, or your hand, making sure the mixture is packed in. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- To make the filling, place the cream cheese, coconut cream, sugar, coconut extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, and very fluffy about 2-3 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust and place back the fridge while you make the mango topping.
- Bring the 3/4 cup water to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let bloom for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the mangoes and scoop out the filling (or extract flesh with your desired method) and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the bloomed gelatin into the blender with the mango purée and blend again until combined and smooth, another 1 minute or so. Pour the mango mixture over the cheesecake mixture and place in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate the bars until set and the mango topping is firm, at least 3 hours, or overnight. To slice, run a knife under warm water, wipe dry then slice bars, wiping clean between slices. Refrigerate any leftovers up to 3-4 days.
*You can use graham crackers instead of crumbs in the crust, just know the crust will be slightly sweeter.
*To ensure that your filling sets properly, refrigerate the coconut cream for 24 hours. Drain any liquid, reserving for smoothies later, or discarding, then scoop out the remaining cream.