Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Lover's Cheesecake

Recently I had a little get-together at my home. We were celebrating a couple friends' birthdays, so I had to pick something birthday-worthy to make. My husband always says to make tried-and-true recipes when a bunch of people are coming over, so that I'm not surprised by a failure. But I say the opposite. What other excuse do I have to make different and decadent treats than when there's a special occasion?

Well, we were both right. I made two recipes that evening that I had never made before. One was for cheese fondue, which was a major failure and won't be blogged about. Talk about a big clump of seized-up cheese! I almost gave it a name, it was such a monstrosity. Very disappointing. The other was this recipe for chocolate cheesecake, which was absolutely delicious. It was very creamy and, unlike other cheesecakes I've made, there was no hint of a crack down the middle. The kids had seen me making this and were not so happy that they couldn't try it out before the event, but had to go to bed and hope there was some left for them in the morning. There almost wasn't!

A couple of tips:
*After you melt the chocolate for the cheesecake, don't let it cool too much. It still needs to be very slightly warm to the touch so that it doesn't turn into little chunks in the batter.
*Scrape the bowl often.
*I like to use Trader Joe's 72% Pound Plus bar. It's economical and tastes very good.
*When putting the glaze on top, try not to mess with it too much. In fact, if you can pour it and not have to spread it, it will look prettier. I started spreading mine with an off-set spatula, and couldn't stop trying to smooth it! It still tasted great, but could have looked smoother.

Chocolate Lover's Cheesecake
Yield: at least 16 servings


For the crust:
1½ cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs*
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¼ tsp. salt
1¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the glaze:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

*Most recipes call for Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers but I can never find them. I generally use Oreos and scrape off the cream filling.

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Press the rest of the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.

To make the filling, combine the sour cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in short intervals, stirring frequently) until completely smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar and continue mixing about 2-3 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the cooled (but still slightly warm) chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed. Beat in the sour cream mixture just until evenly blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing each just until incorporated. (Don’t over-beat once the eggs are added or the cheesecake will puff too much.)

Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake until the center jiggles very slightly when nudged, about 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1-2 hours. Then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight. (This is a must!)

To make the glaze, place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Pour over the chocolate and let stand briefly, 1-2 minutes. Whisk just until a smooth ganache has formed. Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated. Pour the glaze in an even layer over the chilled cheesecake. Chill thoroughly.

To serve, carefully unmold the sides of the springform. Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm the blade, and wipe dry with a towel. Slice cleanly, wiping the blade between slices and reheating as necessary. Serve chilled.

Source: adapted slightly from annies-eats.com, who adapted it slightly from Fine Cooking

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