Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake

Cheesecakes are pretty impressive desserts.  My daughter Stevie and I used to make them often, usually at Christmas. We explored New York style, ricotta style, chocolate, vanilla, lime- all kinds.   I now tend to make them in "bite-size" versions, freeze them, ready to satisfy my sweet tooth.  A full size cheesecake would only lead to over-indulgence, a caloric overdose.

Bittersweet chocolate fans will love this cheesecake- creamy and light but not as high as the typical New York style cheesecakes.  This recipe will make a 10" cheesecake (you'll need a springform pan) or about 20 "two-bite" or "three-bite" pieces.  You can buy some really nice silicon molds or use mini cupcake molds.


For the crust:
  • 1/4 pound wheatmeal crackers finely crushed (about 1 cup)- I used McVittie's digestive biscuits
  • 1 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), grated - I used Lindt's Madagascar chocolate which is actually 70% cacao
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

  • 1/2 pound fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 500 gr. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • Directions:
  • Make the crust:
Combine all ingredients, then press onto bottom of springform pan.

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.

Make the filling and bake the cheesecake:
Melt chocolate with butter, then remove from heat.  Whisk the cream cheese in the mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla.  Place this mixture into a separate bowl and set aside.

Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl until mixture has a mousse-like consistency, then stir in chocolate mixture.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake 1 1/2 hours. (Top will be slightly cracked.)  I used small molds- for the rectangular molds (hold about 1 tbsp of filling), I place the crumbs on the bottom of the molds.  For star shaped molds (hold about 2 tbsp of filling), I placed the crumbs on top of the cheesecake filling so that, when I unmolded them, the crust would be on the widest part of the star/mold.  Baking time should be shortened, depending on the size of the mold- for the smallest, I baked them 15 minutes up to 25 minutes for the slightly larger molds.

Cool to room temperature in the pan on a rack, about 1 hour, then chill at least 1 hour. (Cake will sink slightly.)  Freeze them in the molds.  Unmold when frozen and wrap individually.  To serve, allow the cakes to thaw slightly- about 15 minutes.

Wanna Play?
Add toasted, chopped hazelnuts, with the skins removed.

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