Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nigella's chocolate cheesecake

One dessert that my in-laws absolutely adore is Patty's white chocolate cheesecake. We visit them about twice a year, and they always ask me to make white chocolate cheesecake during our visit. Although I love the recipe, I thought it was time to stir things up and try something new. Knowing that my in-laws are cheesecake fans, I found Nigella's chocolate cheesecake recipe to try.

At first glance, I thought that it was odd how the cheesecake only contained 2 and a half packages of cream cheese. Most cheesecake recipes require at least 4 packages. I also found it weird that this cheesecake baked at 350 degrees for only 45 minutes, whereas most other recipes bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Regardless, I followed Nigella's recipe and crossed my fingers.

Although this cheesecake reviewed rave reviews from my in-laws, it still wasn't as good as the white chocolate cheesecake that we love. My husband and I both agreed that the filling was a bit too soft and needed to be firmer. In fact, I think I would have preferred to freeze the cheesecake and eaten it straight from the freezer. Also, the chocolate flavor wasn't as rich or pronounced as we normally like our chocolates to taste, but it was still a solid dessert. I'll continue to look for the perfect chocolate cheesecake, but in the meantime, this one will suffice.

Oh, and apologies for the bad photo - I did not bring my good camera with me, so this was taken with my smart phone.

Nigella's chocolate cheesecake
Crust
  • 1 and 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter (4 TBSP), melted
  • 1 TBSP cocoa
Filling
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 and 1/2 cups cream cheese (2 and 1/2 packages or 20 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (regular granulated sugar will work)
  • 1 TBSP custard powder (vanilla pudding mix will work)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
Ganache
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Use aluminum foil to wrap the underside and sides of a standard 10" springform pan (you can use a larger or smaller pan if needed). You want to make sure you cover any seams in case the butter leaks out.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cocoa. Press it onto the sides of your springform pan . Set in the freezer.

Melt the 6 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the sugar and pudding powder until fully incorporated.

Add the eggs, egg yolks and sour cream and continue to beat. Finally, add the dissolved cocoa powder and melted chocolate until the mixture is smooth and uniform in color.

Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan and over the crust. Set a roasting pan with hot or boiling water on the bottom rack of your oven and set the springform pan on the middle rack. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the top is set and the sides are still slightly jiggly.

Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator to chill. Cover loosely with tin foil and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.

In a small saucepan set over low heat, or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the 3 ounces of chocolate, heavy cream and corn syrup together. Whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You can either pour the ganache over the cheesecake and allow it to set (in the refrigerator) or drizzle some on top of individual slices while serving.

Cheesecake should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will keep for several days. It can also be frozen and thawed for later.

Yield: One 10" cheesecake (about 12-16 servings or more, if you want smaller slices)

Source: Nigella Lawson, via the Food Network

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