Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cappucinno Fudge Cheesecake

This recipe has been on my mind for nearly a year. The problem was, it's a ridiculously complex dessert ... and quite the investment in cream cheese, chocolate, and other ingredients. I also wanted to save it for an occasion when I would have plenty of as Smitten Kitchen warns that it's decadent and serves more like 30. Apparently she's never met my friend's because my group of 22 only left one small piece after finishing off a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake, some mint brownies, making a dent in homemade applesauce, and eating a fair amount of other food. All of this food was for a 3-part celebration (or excuse to eat): my belated two year anniversary of being in Canada, the belated one year anniversary of this little food blog, and an early American Thanksgiving as I'll be with family for Thanksgiving this year. A good food blogger would've gotten pictures of the food and on that point, I failed miserably ... except for a before and after of this cheesecake. Here you see my less than stellar icing skills:
 And in this after shot, you can see the layers of the cake.  The bottom is a cookie crust, followed by a kahlua-spiked chocolate ganache, then espresso flavoured cheesecake, then a vanilla flavoured sweetened sour cream layer, and finally the beautiful icing!

Be warned, this recipe is a lot of work and time intensive (a lot of cooling, although I think I should've served it slightly cooler as the ganache layer was slightly hard). To prevent being pressed for time, I did the cookie and ganache layers the night before (hooray for cooking at midnight!). My only complaint with this recipe is that the crust came out a little hard. I have three theories for what went wrong. (1) I think I may have slightly burnt the cookies before turning them into crumbs. I pulled the chocolate crumb dough out of the freezer as leftovers from a previous recipe and overcompensated for the frozen dough by upping the cooking time too much. (2) The cheesecake portion of the dish did not want to set, so I kept cooking it (slightly burning the top, which I cut off after it puffed too much and served as a lovely breakfast on the day of cooking) and likely burned the cookie crust more. (3) My springform pan let the kahlua and possibly butter leak out, removing much needed moisture. I need to work on forming a better seal with it. Luckily, the crust certainly did not sink the dish!

Two other comments: SK says for a 9" inch pan instead of 10" to use 3/4 of the cheesecake layer. I put the full amount in and it fit, so go ahead and make the full amount. Leftovers can always be placed in other dishes or trimmed! I weighted the cream cheese using my scale. Eyeballing it though, 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese appeared to work out to roughly 3 250g packages minus about 1/4 cup or so of the last package.

One year ago: Tomato Sausage Risotto (If you haven't tried this recipe yet, make it this week!)

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake (from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies or 9 ounces of homemade chocolate wafers
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup 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
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese (for metric, see note above), 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 used the ground espresso I have on hand for my morning drink which is a finer grind)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses (I think I used dark)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make crust:
1. Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in processor. 2. Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute (my processor wasn't big enough, so I stirred together by hand).
3. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides.
4. 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:
5. Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan (I heated in the microwave with the chocolate to save time).
6. Remove from heat; add chocolate and KahlĂșa.
7. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth.
8. Pour 2 cups ganache over bottom of crust.
9. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.
10. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.
Make filling:
11. Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F.
12. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended.
13. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture.
14. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
15. Pour filling over cold ganache in crust — it will go nearly all of the way to the top, don’t panic.
16. 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.
17. 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:
18. Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend.
19. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely.
20. Bake until topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack.
21. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about three hours.
22. Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter.
23. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip and decorate as desired.
24. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.

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