Monday, April 27, 2009

The Daring Baker's Cheesecake

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The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Let me put this right out front. I don't like cheesecake. I don't know why, I really think it is a texture thing. It is generally so dense and other times almost fluffy like a thick mousse. If someone should order it, I'll taste, but it really is the one dessert I can walk away from. Except this month. It is the Daring Baker's Challenge. As I have reported before, this very large group of bloggers is given the challenge at the first of the month. We dwell on it secretly all month, and then as reveal date approaches, I panic because life can get crazy busy. So, for the second month in a row, I am baking the day of the reveal. My daughter is SO excited. She is the one who orders cheesecake at every restaurant. Can I compare to her high standards? Only one way to find out!

The Daring Baker's gives us the recipe every month, and we generally aren't allowed to make any changes. This month the recipe is plain and we are challenged to make it unique. So I merged my favorite cheesecake recipe (yes, even a non eater like me knows what's good!) and made a Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake. My recipe is at least 18 years old. It originally came from Williams Sonoma although I doubt it is hanging out in any archives because it calls for a coffee extract called Trablit. It is a fantastic product they quit carrying around 1997. I recently found it at an L.A. store called Surfas, along with many other of my favorite Williams Sonoma discontinued items. Perhaps you can't get your hands on Trablit, or don't want the large bottle offered online, you can make your own so to speak. One option is to use instant espresso powder and dissolve in water to make a dark concentrate or use Kahlua for a more subtle flavor, but I can't say either will taste as good as the real thing. If you do go for the Trablit, try it in a little warm milk...delicious! So what follows is a merged recipe. It is delicious, even for a non cheesecake girl like me. I think part of my liking this version better than a traditional cheesecake is that this is only a pound of cream cheese, where as many are a pound and a half. I used light sour cream and I think that keeps the texture a little lighter on the tongue. The crust as an after note, could seriously be made with closer to 3 cups of grahams. I added the additional almond meal for a little "good fat", but still the crust was lower than the cheesecake batter.

Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup almond meal (Trader Joe's)
1 stick butter, melted
2 T. sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Line the outside of a Springform pan with foil, shiny side out. Butter the inside of the pan. Mix ingredients and press into the bottom and up the sides of Springform pan. I am using an 8" pan. Put crust in fridge while you make the cheesecake.

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 T. rum or other liquor
1 pound cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 T Trablit.

Melt chocolate over simmering water with rum. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then sour cream and sugar. Add Trablit and mix well. Divide the batter into 2 bowls. To one mixture add the chocolate/rum mixture. Layer the chocolate batter first and carefully top with the coffee only mixture.

Place cheesecake pan in lager roasting pan and pour boiling water up to the halfway point of the cheesecake pan. Carefully bake for about 50 minutes. You want a little jiggle in the middle and a little more done around the edges. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven for about another hour. Remove from water bath and chill fully before serving.

To serve. I make a whipped cream scented with Trablit and a little powdered sugar. Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans. That's it! Delicious! Get in there and cook!

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