Recently Chef Alex’s Farm to Table menu at Hualani’s featured savory dishes from Culinary Supervisor Rey Peralta with an amazing dessert from our busser, Jessica Galzote. When Jessica isn’t making sure the floor is running smoothly, all guests are taken care of, and the servers are in their zone, she is also the head of the class at the Kaua’i Community College Culinary Program. Her goal is to graduate and become the pastry chef at Hualani’s, and we are excited to watch her create her future.
Jessica’s dessert was a dragon fruit mousse with white chocolate ganache over a light, fluffy cake base with slices of fresh white and red dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is found all over the islands July through November and is actually the fruit of the pitaya cactus. Native to Southern Mexico and Central America, it is now synonymous with tropical areas, including Hawaii. Packed with nutrients and potent antioxidants, it has been marketed as a superfood as it is said to prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation.
This recipe was inspired by Jessica’s dessert and designed for the home cook. Essentially a no-bake cheesecake, this dish will remind you of fresh produce available every day on Kaua’i and make you want to return to your Timber’s home, even if you just left.
FOR THE CRUST:
- 2 ea. 14 oz packages of graham crackers
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 stick of butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 ea. 4 oz bar white chocolate, chopped (Ghirardelli’s preferred.)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 package Knox gelatin
- 1 large dragon fruit, (or substitute 1.5 cups frozen fruit)
- 2 ea. 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, minced
- 1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust (Use recipe below or purchase pre-made.)
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
FOR THE CRUST:
- Crush graham crackers until fine. You can use a blender for speed.
- Melt butter in microwave in 20 second intervals or melt slowly in a pan.
- Combine crumbs and sugar, then pour in butter and mix well until all the crumbs are coated with butter.
- Butter the bottom of a springform cheesecake pan, line with parchment paper, and press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom.
- Freeze until ready to use.
FOR THE FILLING:
- If using frozen dragon fruit, thaw first. Puree fruit and set aside.
- Sprinkle gelatin over water and stir after 10 seconds. Let bloom for 3 minutes.
- Melt one bar of white chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, 1 to 3 minutes.
- Using a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together until creamy. Mix in the melted white chocolate, egg, lemon zest, gelatin, and vanilla extract until creamy.
- Divide mixture into 2 parts and pour one half into the pie crust and return to freezer for at least 20 minutes.
- Combine remaining half with dragon fruit mixture and pour on top of plain cheesecake. Return to freezer for at least one hour.
- Bring heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over the remaining chopped white chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour over the cheesecake and cover evenly by tilting and turning the pan.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sweet tooth still aching? Try with our Golden Thai Tea for a delicious pairing.