Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate cheesecake (p. 745) and Crumb crust (p. 667)

I read Josh a long list of cakes he could choose from for his birthday cake and he choose Chocolate cheesecake (p. 745). I wasn't particularly excited about this choice since I'm not a big chocolate fan, but it wasn't my birthday. I love cheesecake, though, and my previous TJOC cheesecake attempt had turned out perfectly.

TJOC says to make a Crumb crust (p. 667) using chocolate wafer cookies. I imagine that chocolate wafer cookies are like Nilla wafers but are chocolate instead of vanilla. I couldn't find those anywhere. I decided that instead of scouring Fort Collins for the correct cookies I would just make the crust using Nilla wafers.

I smashed the Nilla wafers in to crumbs using a rolling pin, which worked really well. It was actually rather fun to smash the wafers.

I write out a list of what I am making to keep myself on task when I have big cooking days. If you decide to lay your notebook on the stovetop, make sure you don't accidentally turn on the wrong burner, charring the notebook. Whoops! I'm lucky it didn't start on fire.

Finally, I had my cup and a half of cookie crumbs:

I mixed the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted cooled butter.

The mixture was very crumbly and difficult to convince to stick in the pan. I also couldn't figure out if I was supposed to just line the bottom of the pan or the bottom and sides. I decided to line half the sides (an odd choice, I realize). I figured that would at least let us know which was correct.

I baked the crust for a few minutes:

So, crust finished, time for the cheesecake.

I beat a few packages of cream cheese until smooth:

I added sugar and vanilla to the cream cheese, beat until soft and creamy, and then added three eggs, beating after each addition. It's really important not to overbeat at any stage because beating causes air to be incorporated in to the batter, which can cause the finished cheesecake to crack.

Two cups of sour cream and some unsweetened cocoa powder were then mixed in to the cream cheese mixture:

I stirred semisweet chocolate (it seemed to me that bittersweet would make the cake way too bitter) with boiling water until the chocolate was melted and smooth. This took a surprisingly long time.

The chocolate was added to the cream cheese mixture and beat until blended. The whole concoction was poured into the crust:

The cake cooked for about 45 minutes. I let it sit in the oven with the door propped open (much easier if you have a gas stove than an electric stove) for another hour.

The cake was cooled on the counter and then refrigerated for a day:

The cake was truly beautiful. And it was chocolatey. In fact, it was CHOCOLATEY. If you love intense chocolate flavor, this is the cheesecake for you (meaning, it was not the cheesecake for me). I'm actually really glad I made the wrong crust because I think it would have been over the top with the correct chocolate one. It also had a strong sour cream bite to it, which I thought was odd. I think I would have liked more cream cheese and less sour cream in the cake. Even so, it's always rewarding to see such a beautiful cheesecake. And, no, I still don't know what I was supposed to do with the crust.

Random facts:
  • Cheesecakes are considered a custard (On Food and Cooking, p. 97).

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