Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sunday ~ Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze

Hosting for Sweet Melissa Sunday is exciting with a smidgen of anxiousness added in. Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze is not the recipe to jump in at the last second and remake if some part of the process is a flop.
Excitement has a lot to do with the enjoyment found in belonging to a baking group full of wonderful people, encouraging each other and offering insightful comments. Relaxing in the evening now includes looking at how other's approach the same recipe, sharing results both unique and interesting.

I just have to share how, we will go with interesting, my hosting recipe started out:
I spend a lot of energy, over time, shopping for all sizes of bakeware to fit many cooking/baking projects. The Internet is handy for such adventures with new found treasures shipped right to the front door. After the treasure enters the front door is another matter. I "high five" myself over finding the ultimate 10" cheesecake pan with 2 types of inserts from The square cheesecake pan is another ingenious find. The 8" pan? Well, of course I have one! Okay, looking in the pantry (my hubby and I are both commercial electricians and yet there is no light installed in the walk-in pantry . . . but I do have this great flashlight), treasures precariously stacked on wall-to-wall shelves. Looking, looking, looking with flashlight. Okay, we are running downstairs to our well-organized Costco shelves (the shelves are organized because there are lights and I can see what I am doing), no 8" cheesecake pan. You know what this means, right? I now have to go back upstairs and tear apart the whole pantry to find my cheesecake pan.

The livingroom is now filled with every type of treasure imaginable . . . items I haven't seen in over a year and now feel like I found new friends and guess what? I found my 8" cheesecake pan - the hunt only took an hour and fifteen minutes. (Note to self: I have two large, favorite cookie sheets. Quit buying smaller airbake cookie sheets when stores sell the sheets at 50% off because I have 10 and the majority are still in plastic wrap.)

The cheesecake took me 2 days to make. I was wondering if anyone completed this recipe in 1 day? The recipe was followed to the letter.

The Verdict:
Melissa tells everyone from the start ~ the cheesecake is silky smooth and "rich" in flavor. The crushed hazelnuts surprised me since the nutty flavor came in second to the chocolate. The blackberry glaze seemed more of a shiny surface addition then a contributing flavor. Did anyone taste the blackberry?
I enjoyed making this decadent chocolate dessert knowing the cheesecake was a Christmas time treat =).
Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze
(The Sweet Melissa Baking Book ~ by Melissa Murphy)

For the Crust
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped medium fine
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup best quality semisweet (58%) chocolate chips

For the Cheesecake
8 ounces best-quality bittersweet (64-68%) chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dark rum

For the Blackberry Glaze
1/4 cup blackberry or black currant preserves
1 Tablespoon water

Before You Start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Turn an 8-inch springform pan upside down and cover the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. The foil should come up at least halfway on all sides, so that the water from the water bath will not leak through. Line the inside bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper cut to fit exactly. Using a nonstick vegetable cooking spray, spray the inside papered bottom and sides of the pan.

To Make The Crust
1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, and hazelnuts. Stir in the melted butter.

2. Press the mixture onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. (I use a cup with a flat base to help me press the crumbs evenly up the sides.) Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately scatter the chocolate chips over the crust. Set aside until the chocolate melts, about 4 minutes. Using a small offset spatula or teaspoon, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Set aside to cool.

To Make the Cheesecake
1. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering, not boiling water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

3. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle - - no lumps! Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until smooth, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure the chocolate is incorporated. Add the cream mixture and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle again.

5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Add the rum and beat until combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared crust and spin to level the batter. Cover the top of the springform pan with aluminum foil.

7. Place the springform pan inside a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour. Turn down the oven to 250 degrees F. and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the center is just set. Turn off the oven, remove the foil from the top of the cheesecake, and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 1 more hour. (Don't open the oven door!)

8. Remove the pan from the water and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate uncovered for 3 hours to overnight before unmolding. To unmold, slide a knife along the edges of the cheesecake and release the springform pan.

9. For the glaze: In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the jam with water, stirring using a whisk until bubbling.

10. Strain the glaze over the chilled cheesecake and spread gently with an offset spatula. Before serving, refrigerate for approximately 10 minutes until the jam is set.

To serve, cut the cheesecake in slices using a sharp chef's knife that you've dipped in hot water, then dried with a clean towel. Garnish with fresh blackberries, if desired.

The unglazed cheesecake can be frozen in the springform pan up to 3 weeks and finished with the glazing before serving. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Do not unwrap before defrosting.

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