Ambrosia Cheesecake

Two classic desserts come together to make a sweet ending to your holiday celebration.

Active Time:
35 mins
Bake Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Cool Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Chill Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
16 hrs 20 mins

Ambrosia means "food of the gods." In Greek and Roman mythology, it referred to magical victuals with the power to bestow immortality on anyone who tasted them. But that was a long time ago in a magical kingdom far, far away. Today, as most food historians agree, ambrosia belongs to the South. For most Southerners, ambrosia calls up the image of a serving dish filled to the brim with a fluffy, fruit-studded concoction. This holiday season, we're drawing flavor inspiration from the classic Southern dish, reimagining ambrosia in new, modern ways. Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to our Ambrosia Cheesecake.

North meets South in this New York-style cheesecake with an ambrosia-inspired citrus topping and coconut-graham cracker crust. Unsweetened coconut cream brings subtle coconut flavor to the cheesecake, which is garnished with a pretty variety of citrus segments. This ambrosia dessert will be an all-star addition to your Southern sideboard.

Ambrosia Cheesecake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Giulietta Pinna; Food Styling: Ali Ramee

Did we mention that this cheesecake is a great make-ahead dessert? Simply prepare and chill the cheesecake up to four days in advance, then add citrus just before serving.


  • 2 cups finely ground honey graham crackers (from 17 cracker sheets)

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut

  • 1 ¾ cups plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature

  • cup unsweetened coconut cream (from 1 [13½-oz.] can)

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups assorted citrus segments and rounds (such as Ruby Red grapefruit, navel oranges, blood oranges, and kumquats, from about 2 lb. citrus)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third position. Coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap outside of springform pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Set aside.

  2. Place graham crackers, desiccated coconut, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a food processor; pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Add melted butter; pulse until evenly combined, about 10 pulses. Press crust evenly into bottom and all the way up sides of prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven until crust is lightly browned, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer crust in springform pan to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Do not turn oven off.

  3. Beat cream cheese, coconut cream, and remaining 1¾ cups sugar and ½ teaspoon salt with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour filling into prepared crust, and smooth top.

  4. Place cheesecake in springform pan in a large roasting pan. Add boiling water to roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake at 350°F until cheesecake is lightly browned on top and set around edges but still slightly jiggly in middle, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan, and transfer to a wire rack; let cool in springform pan completely, about 2 hours. Remove foil from springform pan, and discard. Cover cheesecake in springform pan with plastic wrap. Chill at least 12 hours or up to 4 days.

  5. To serve, uncover cheesecake, and carefully remove edges of springform pan. Top cheesecake with assorted citrus.

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