Extra time:2hr chilling ›
- Preheat your oven to 190 C / 170 C Fan / Gas 5. Get a deep-sided, round, loose-based, non-stick tart/flan or pie tin (at least 5cm deep and about 24cm in diameter). No need to flour, grease, or line the tin.
- Mix the base ingredients together in a medium bowl with a fork until fully moistened and combined. Press the mixture into the tin with your hands, ensuring it's thin, even and goes all the way up the sides. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to ensure it isn't too thick there. Prick the bottom and sides – including around the bottom edge – all over lightly with a fork (it will puff up if you don't).
- Bake the base for 5 minutes, then turn down the oven to 160 C / 140 C Fan / Gas 2-3. Bake for another 15 minutes or so, until evenly browned and not looking or smelling burnt. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.
- While the base is baking (see footnote for alternate preparation method), put the coconut milk and desiccated coconut nibs into a pot on the hob on the lowest heat, and simmer very gently for 40 to 45 minutes, until totally reduced (i.e., no visible liquid). Give it a good stir every 5 minutes or so. You should end up with the consistency of very thick porridge.
- Take the pot off the heat. Add the white chocolate, and stir it in vigorously until it's completely mixed in and melted. Pour this into a medium bowl and cover with clingfilm, pressing it down to touch the whole surface of the mixture to avoid a skin forming. Place into the fridge until chilled through.
- Mix the cheese, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until fully combined. (You might find a manual whisk helps with any small lumps.) Stir in the chilled chocolate and coconut mixture, and mix thoroughly.
- Blob 1/3 of the filling over the base in large spoonfuls and make a smooth layer; sprinkle over 1/2 of the chopped cherries; then follow with some freshly grated nutmeg. Add half of the remaining filling; sprinkle over the rest of the chopped cherries with another light grating of nutmeg; then spread the last of the filling over. Generously grate more fresh nutmeg over, then heap most of the coconut curls on top. Lay out the quartered cherries in the pattern of your choice, and sprinkle the remaining curls over. Leave to chill in the fridge for up to 2 hours (or overnight), until firm.
- Remove the tin side (sit the tin on an upturned glass and let the side drop), slide off the tin base, and serve.
Alternative preparation method
The filling can be made (steps 4 to 6) and chilled overnight in a covered bowl. The next day, prepare and bake the base (steps 1 to 3), and leave to fully cool, about 1 hour. Start again at step 7 with layering the elements into the cooled base. Place the tin in the fridge until ready to serve.
If you like, you can dry-fry the coconut nibs in your pot for a few minutes on a low heat. Keep stirring so all nibs toast evenly. When it's all very lightly browned, pour in the coconut milk and continue with step 4. You could also toast the coconut curls for the decoration, in a dry frying pan for just a few minutes.
See it on my blog
Coconut, White Chocolate, and Cherry Cheesecake