Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Cheesecake With Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
There is nothing that beats a well-tuned cheesecake for dessert. This recipe will have you kicking up your heels, and wondering why you haven't tried making a cheesecake before now!!
1 Package of graham crackers (there are normally three packets in a box)
3/4 stick butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS Bakers unsweetened chocolate powder
Crush the graham crackers finely. You can get this result easily by first crushing by hand in the sealed packet as best you can, then adding them to the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade and run it until you have very fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, add the crumbs, sugar, chocolate, add the melted butter. Mix well.
NOTE: A dash of ground cardaman and or cinnamon to the crust will add a unique taste.
Pour the crumb mixture in a 9" springform pan. Press crumbs along bottom (and sides -optional) so it is firmly packed.
Bake at 375F. for 8-minutes. Remove from oven and let completely cool.
4 eight oz. packages cream cheese room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
5 eggs room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Hazelnut syrup (Optional)
1-1/2 teaspoon lemon, lime, or orange zest (optional)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2-2/3 Tablespoons AP Flour
Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add sugar, mix. Add eggs, mix slowly 1 egg at a time. Scrape sides of the bowl between each egg addition. Add flavorings and heavy cream; mix well. Add flour and mix slowly until well blended; but do not over beat once added. Pour mixture into pre-baked crust.
Bake in preheated 325F. oven in a water bath, 1 hour and 30 minutes. When finished baking, the middle 1" or 2" will still be wobbly. Turn off oven, leaving cake inside with oven door wedged open about 1 inch. Let sit in there for an additional 1 hr. This will complete the baking cycle. Remove from oven, set on wire rack, loosen outer ring but do not remove the ring. Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours (six or more) or overnight. Remove the ring.
Serve topped with your favorite sliced fruit, and/or chocolate whipped cream.
If you want a perfect cheesecake with NO cracks on the top, cover the outside of the springform pan bottom with aluminum foil and place the foil-bottomed springform in a pan of hot water before baking. The steam from the water eliminates cracks in the cake. Be sure there is room (an inch or so) between the foil covered springform pan and the sides of the pan of water it has been placed in for baking. The water should come up about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way of the springform pan.
Also, if you want a perfectly white top to the cheesecake, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil AFTER the initial 45-minutes baking time; leave the foil on for the remainder of the baking time.