It’s hard to believe I was in Maui just a few weeks ago…it already feels like a distant memory, but the best of memories. I don’t think it’s ever been so hard to come back home from vacation! The beaches, landscape, sun, hiking, snorkeling, sunrises, towns, relaxation, and not to mention the food(!) were just perfect. My boyfriend and I are already discussing our return trip next year. Beyond our outdoor adventures, we of course spent quite a bit of time discovering the best places to dine, whether it was for a refreshing shave ice or a classy beach-front dinner. We had a little too much success!
By far the best dessert we had was something called the “Pono Pie“. We ate this delectable treat at the barefoot bar at Hula Grill, while a Hawaiian man sang and woman danced. Life doesn’t get much better. The Pono Pies are made by a chef on Maui, and they are completely raw, vegan, gluten- and GMO-free, and are made from local breadfruit, macadamia nuts, coconut, and other fresh fruits and flavors. They looked and tasted quite a bit like cheesecake, but are entirely plant-based.
Although I knew I couldn’t replicate this treat exactly, I wanted to try a simpler version that included a couple of the staples of Maui: macadamia, coconut, and citrus. I also wanted a heartier nut crust, to balance out the creamy coconut filling. Just like the Pono Pie, my version is made entirely of plant-based ingredients, and free of dairy, egg, grain, and soy. And still, or maybe due to this, it is deliciousss, and plenty sinful tasting! It’s quite filling, but despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to stop at just one sliver. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make and involves no baking or heating at all! All you need is some type of blender or food processor, and a freezer.
One budget tip: macadamia nuts are ridiculously pricey, so if you’re looking to save, feel free to use cashews instead. It will still taste great. You can also get creative with the cheesecake filling and add different types of flavors, for example orange or mango, or even lavender or almond extract. You could also always add chocolate – that is always a winning version in my experience! Also, for those who have an extreme sweet tooth, feel free to add a touch more sweetener to both the crust and cheesecake. Aloha!