Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake

IMG_7372

Happy Easter!

We had our big family Easter dinner on Good Friday.  It is great to get family together over the holidays, I just wish everyone could have been there!  We had a wonderful dinner, not typical of an Easter dinner but delicious!  Mom cooked a huge pork loin and a large roast beef, both on the bbq.  She also made baked beans, broccoli cauliflower salad and coleslaw.  My aunts and uncles brought potato salad and macaroni salad, along with pickled beets and buns.  Everything was excellent, right down to the table set for 17!

20150403_173217

Another reason to love holiday meals with family is I get to bake!  This year Easter weekend fell on my Gramma’s birthday.  She requested lemon birthday cake, it turned out pretty good, you can see it here.  Now deciding on a cheesecake flavour! You would think everyone would get sick of cheesecake, but when asked it seems to still be the main request.  This time, I went with a simple flavour that I knew everyone would like (it is hard to please that many people with a flavour), chocolate.

I was feeling very confident in my cheesecake making, I have made quite a few and 99% have been successful.  I thought I would mix it up a little and try something different.  Aspects of  two different cheesecakes intrigued me.  I liked how The Brown Eyed Baker put cocoa powder in the base of her Chocolate Lover’s Cheesecake and how at Fine Cooking they whipped with melted chocolate right into the cream cheese at the beginning of the mixing process of their Extreme Chocolate Cheesecake.  They were both different as they used 4 eggs and no cream.  I incorporated all of these ideas into my Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake!

 

Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake

Filling

3 pkg cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
10 oz semi sweet chocolate
4 eggs
3/4 cup cream
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Chocolate for shaving

Crust

1 1/4 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºC and start boiling water for your water bath

2. In a spring form pan combine cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter – press to form even crust

IMG_7315

3. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool

Filling

1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and set aside to cool

IMG_7310

IMG_7313

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine cream cheese, sugar and cocoa powder.  Whipping until smooth

IMG_7319

IMG_7325

3. Slowly add the, room temperature, melted chocolate

IMG_7326

4. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg

IMG_7330

5. Add cream, vanilla and pinch of salt

IMG_7331

6. Cover spring form pan with parchment paper and heavy foil wrap to keep water out

IMG_7334

7. Place in a large roasting pan and fill half way up the sides of the spring form pan with the hot water

IMG_7335

8.  Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

** and this is when things went terribly wrong….

ACK!  It cracked! What the heck?!? my cheesecakes don’t crack!  I was furious and shocked all at the same time.  And this was DURING the cooking, not even on the cool down!

IMG_7337

It didn’t just crack, this is a crater of epic proportions.  Seemed like you could lose a Smart Car in there.

IMG_7343

At this point I need to turn to plan B.  I can not nicely shave chocolate around the edges and serve this!  Thankfully, I had some chocolate left over and had to resort to a chocolate ganache

As I cover the edges in Milk Chocolate Chips I start preparing the ganache…

IMG_7350

Ganache

3 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp cream

1. Melt chocolate and corn syrup in a double boiler

IMG_7345

2. Add cream and stir until smooth – I am still flustered at this point and forgot some pictures of the completed ganache

IMG_7347

3. Pour over top of cheesecake to hide the massive cracks!

IMG_7370

Done! Not at all how I had envisioned it, but it looks ok.

I did fill a few people in on the ‘secret crater’, they only laughed at me.  I was seriously stressed wondering how it was going to taste!

IMG_7383

Thankfully, it was delicious!  It got rave reviews.  It was so rich and chocolatey, sinfully delicious.  Now, if I could only figure out what made it crack? The flavour was there, but the presentation was not!

Any suggestions as to what happened????

IMG_7386

Advertisements

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

IMG_6797

This Christmas I was determined to make something different for dessert.  I always do a cheesecake and something else as there are a few people who do not like cheesecake.  I racked my brains, searched my books, looked on the web and I was stumped.  There were so many things I liked but nothing that would please almost everyone.  I eventually decided to ask those attending dinner what they would like.  Everyone I asked responded with Cheesecake!  Okay, okay!  I certainly don’t mind making it, I just assumed people would be getting sick of it.  Apparently not.

Now to decide what flavour.  Suggestions were Turtle, Tuxedo, Plain, etc, all ones I had already made.  I like to try new things, then I can post about it, haha!  I headed to Pinterest, where I saw thousands of cheesecakes, but this one caught my eye.  Pecan.Pie.Cheesecake!

Photo from spicysouthernkitchen.com

Just look at that! Amazing!

pecan-pie-cheesecake-15

I eat with my eyes and as soon as I saw this I knew, this was the Christmas Cheesecake!  I had never made a Pecan Pie before, though it is on my bucket list, but figured I would give it a go.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen

Crust

1¾ cups vanilla-wafer crumbs**
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

**I used graham crumbs, not a fan of vanilla wafers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine graham crumbs and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stir melted butter in with a spatula.

IMG_6531

3. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch Springform pan.

IMG_6534

4. Bake for 6 minutes and let cool.

Pecan filling

1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine all Pecan-Filling ingredients in a medium saucepan. (I left out the nuts, and poured them over the crust, only because if I messed up with filling I didn’t want to waste the expensive pecans)

IMG_6538

IMG_6542

2. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes.

IMG_6544

4. Pour into prepared crust.

IMG_6546

At this point I am just about drooling, look at that!  Forget the cheesecake, lets cook this and eat it!

IMG_6548

Cheesecake filling

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. (Seemed low to me, I went with340ºF)2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy

IMG_6553

2. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy.

IMG_6554

I love the colour the brown sugar produced.  I had never thought of using brown sugar.  There are a few other ones I think this would be a nice addition to

IMG_6556

3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything mixes evenly.

IMG_6557

4. Add cream and vanilla and beat just to combine. Pour mixture over pecan filling. – I was worried pouring the cheesecake over the pecan filling would create a whole and not a layer, but the pecan layer had hardened up enough to hold it

IMG_6558

IMG_6559

5. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn oven off but leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 1 more hour. (I cooked mine in a water bath as I always do)

Perfection! No cracks!

IMG_6580

6. Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife around the sides to make sure they are not sticking. Let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

IMG_6587

The next day I spruced it up a little, nothing exciting or over the top.  Placed a few pecans around the edges as a hint of what kind of Cheesecake it was.

IMG_6723

Dessert time!  Finally time to try it!  I am quite nervous before cutting it.  I had read some of the comments and some were undercooked and the filling poured out.  Others overcooked their pie filling and was hard as a rock.  It may look pretty but you just never know.

IMG_6729

It was perfect!  It didn’t ooze out nor did it turn to a rock.

IMG_6732

This cheesecake was perfection!  I will admit, I am my own worst critic.  I always pick apart my desserts thinking something could be better or should have done this different.  Not with this one! This was perfect.   The pictures do not do it justice.

IMG_6733

As I was serving it up, I could hear ‘mmmm’, ‘wow’, ‘OMG Erica!’ ‘Your BEST cheesecake ever!’. At this point I had not tried it yet, I always serve myself last.  When I made sure everyone had dessert (there was also an apple crisp for those cheesecake haters) I served myself up a big piece.  I had a piece and a half, Dad can’t have nuts so he just at the top part, I got his pecan crust.

IMG_6736

OH.MY.GOD!

With one bite, i think I went to heaven.  As soon as the fork hit my mouth angles started singing.  Quite literally, it was a ‘party in my mouth’.  I felt like Clark Grisswold from Christmas Vacation when he finally got his lights to work…

Christmas-Vacation-Clark-Griswold-Lights

I seriously had to pause for a moment to take it all in.

IMG_6741

The creamy top layer of cheesecake was so smooth and decadent. I really liked the almost caramel flavour that the brown sugar added to the plain cheesecake.

A few photos from the next day on white plates looks better

IMG_6789

The pecan pie layer was simply amazing!  It was sinfully sweet! I could have just pulled up a big bowl of it and been happy.  It was a perfect consistency.  It almost put me in mine of a perfect butter tart.  I am glad I went with the graham crumb crust, it went perfectly.

IMG_6797

The combination of the creamy cheesecake balanced out the sweetness of the pecan pie filling and it was absolutely delicious! Everyone love it! I was told several times that this was their new favourite. Already had requests for a repeat and a few want the recipe.

I’d say it was a success!  My only complaint is that there was not more left over! haha

Thanks you Christin from Spicy Southern Kitchen for such a wonderful dessert, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas Eve meal.