Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake

I found this recipe last November and have been eye-ing it ever since. SmittenKitchen posted this just a few days after Thanksgiving, which was entirely too soon for me to be enticed enough to go through all the work for something so decadent.  Three months later and approaching a birthday, however, it was time! Now that it's been completely devoured, I can say with absolute certainty that it's worth ruining any and all resolutions, just for a little bit. It's really that amazing.

I think the best part of this cheesecake is that it isn't make-your-teeth-hurt sweet. I've had several cheesecakes like that, which definitely detracts from the dessert. The espresso and molasses in this gives the filling just enough of bitterness to take the edge off the sweet, which is a definite plus. The crust that holds all this deliciousness is also a little different -- as my dad put it, it's the most aggressive crust he's ever encountered. The chocolate-Kahlua ganache forms a fantastically thick shell over the graham cracker crust, giving it a very solid base.

This isn't exactly a quick process, it probably took me 3 hours total (though I had to smash the graham crackers in a mixing bowl using a ladle, which takes just a tish longer than pulsing in the food processor!) I made the cake a day ahead of when I needed it, which allowed time for all the flavors to meld together very nicely. By the time I took the remaining pieces to my research journal club, 3 days later, the Kahlua flavor of the ganache was really starting to come out. Basically, this cheesecake starts at amazing and just keeps getting better the more time the flavors have to come out, depending on your tastes.  It *just* fits into a 9" springform pan- don't panic when things seem dangerously close to the the top of the crust, it all works out!

Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake

1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies/graham crackers
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup KahlĂșa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

*I slightly reduced these quantities and still have 1 cup leftover, even after the decorating. Looks like I have some delicious chocolate to dip things in!
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
1 1/2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind) (I skipped this, increased the espresso powder instead)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A handful of chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

Make crust: Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in processor. Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.

Make ganache: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and KahlĂșa.
Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour 2 cups ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.

Make filling: Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Scrape down bowl, making sure you get to the bottom, where little pockets of unmixed cream cheese love to hid. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese
mixture. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Pour filling over cold ganache in crust — it will go nearly all of the way to the top, don’t panic. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and the center two inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about one hour. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly, making room for topping). Maintain oven temperature.

Make topping: Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about three hours.

Use the rest of the ganache to pipe any pattern you like onto the top of the cheesecake. I attempted a lattice, which wasn't half bad for someone using a sandwich baggie with the tip cut off. You can decorate the edge of the cheesecake once the side of the pan is removed, top with some chocolate-covered espresso beans, or leave it as it is. At this point, the major points of deliciousness are accounted for, the rest is just making it look pretty!

No comments:

Post a Comment