Blossoming Lotus shares passion for lilikoi cheesecake

It may be hard to imagine making a cheesecake without any dairy products or eggs, but the team of the Blossoming Lotus and the Lotus Root Juice Bar & Bakery do that on a regular basis.

“I like to ‘wow’ people with the fact that you can have a vegan cheesecake,” said Gia Baiocchi who is responsible for the restaurant and bakery’s booth at this year’s Taste of Hawai‘i.

“I like to make people say, ‘How on earth do you make a vegan cheesecake?’” she said.

Gourmet vegan and live food is the staff’s specialty. Founding chef Mark Reinfeld was recently named Chef of the Year in the Live Food Category by the Aspen Center for Integral Health.

This Sunday, the crew will make their fourth appearance at the Taste of Hawai‘i.

“The cake was pretty much a group effort. So many people have come through and tweaked (the recipe) a little bit and I tweaked it a little bit,” Baiocchi said.

Baiocchi decided to switch from using tofu to using coconut meat.

“The original recipe for the cheesecake was made with tofu which I didn’t like because it was kind of heavy and the texture wasn’t quite right,” she said. “Now we use fresh coconut meat and a tofu-based cream cheese.”

Baiocchi said she hopes with the

restaurant’s continued participation in the Taste of Hawai‘i, they can take the event to a higher level.

“I think we have a unique taste here and when a lot of people think about Hawai‘i, they think of coconuts and lilikoi. I think we can kind of take the Taste of Hawai‘i to another level in taking local products and using them in a way that hasn’t been done before,” she said.

“Before the event, a lot of people probably wouldn’t even think about coming to our restaurant, but because they’re going to this event they’re more open to trying things they normally wouldn’t.”

Lilikoi Cheezecake with a Hibiscus-Raspberry Coulis

Crust:

2 cups spelt flour

1/4 cup Sucanat (natural cane sugar)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup safflower oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons apple juice

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

2 cups fresh coconut meat

16 ounce Tofutti creme cheeze (soy-based crème cheeze)

1 cup Sucanat

1 cup Lilikoi concentrate

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Coulis:

2 ounces hibiscus flowers

10 ounces frozen raspberries

2 cups raw cane sugar

2 cups filtered water

For crust, sift dry crust ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and use your hands to crumble everything together. Press into the bottom of a well-oiled 11-inch springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for five minutes.

For filling, place all filling ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

For coulis, bring all ingredients to a boiling point in a saucepan, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, blend, strain through cheesecloth and chill to thicken.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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