Monday, August 5, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake

How long does it take to stock Ding Dongs?  I got Twinkies for the crew at work, but I don't like them.  Want my creamy chocolate.  Meanwhile...

This is why my kitchen will never be certified for commercial use.  I'm taking my food manager recertification exam today, so I'm super-sensitive to any possible sources of contamination.  Princess was really cute, though, and several feet from the cake.  You'd never guess that she's 14.

When making any recipe in a rush, don't skip steps.  And use common sense.  Just because I didn't notice the part in this lovely recipe that mentions buttering the pan as the first step, I should have known better.  As I was pouring the batter in the pan, I decided to read the recipe again.  Fortunately, it turned out ok, but it would have been prettier and less saggy in the middle if I had done it right.

Which brings up the point that you can't rush cheesecake.  Save the drama and make it the day before.  Whipping it up isn't hard, but it bakes for an hour, then cools for at least an hour more before you put it in the fridge to cool for four more hours.  That is, unless you like a dense, fallen cheesecake.  By all means, make it in three hours from start to finish.

*1-1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
*2 Tb cocoa powder
1/3 C butter, melted

*12 oz semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped blocks)
3 8oz packages cream cheese
1 C sugar
3 eggs
*1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C sour cream

*4 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/3 C heavy cream
1 Tb butter

1.  Butter or pan-spray a 10" springform pan.  If it's the kind of pan with a textured bottom, also line with parchment or waxed paper, then grease the paper.  In a bowl, combine crumbs and cocoa powder. Stir in melted butter until evenly wet.  Press into bottom of springform and place in refrigerator to chill until needed.

2.  To prepare the filling, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on half power in one-minute increments.  Stir between, and try placing it in different parts of the microwave each minute.  Once melted, set aside and start to preheat the oven to 350º, with a rack set in the middle.

3.  In stand mixer, beat cream cheese with the paddle until creamy.  Add sugar and whip together.  Beat in chocolate next until combined.  Add eggs one at a time and beat in.  Finally, add vanilla and sour cream.  Scrape down bowl, then beat mixture until fluffy.

4.  Get the pan out of the fridge and place it on a rimmed baking sheet, in case of leaks.  Pour batter into pan and smooth top.  Bake about 55 minutes, until mostly set but still a little jiggly.  Cool in oven with the door cracked for one hour.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Chocolate can hide anything

5.  For ganache topping, finely chop a good-quality baking chocolate.  Bring cream to a low boil.  Pour over chocolate and let sit a minute.  Stir until smooth, then add butter and make it smooth again.  If having difficulty, a 20-second shot in the microwave at regular power should help.

6.  Place cake on serving platter, removing all pieces of springform and any paper liners.  With a spreader, top with ganache.  Chill until set, at least two hours and preferably four.  When serving, remember how rich the cake is and make the slices small.  People can always come back for seconds.

Serves at least 10

Difficulty rating :-0

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