by Stephanie Zonis
OK, so it's July, and it's hotter than blazes outside, but you need to eat some cheesecake. It's a mysterious, primal urge, one that you can't refuse. But cheesecakes take a while to make and bake for a long time, and you're not feeling particularly motivated. That is why you look to this recipe for assistance. It is a cheesecake, only in a smaller form, so it won't take all day to bake.
There's an easy crust that doesn't require pre-baking, a filling you can make with a sturdy hand-held electric mixer, and a topping that is simplicity itself. This looks beautiful, too, because it's layered. It even contains a generous amount of chocolate; who could ask for anything more? Keep in mind that this will not freeze, though it will keep for several days in the fridge. Also, you'll need to let this chill for at least 3 hours after it's baked, so plan accordingly. I like to serve this with some shaved or grated semisweet chocolate on top, and it's a natural with a cup of coffee. Serve in small slices—this is rich.
In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Stir thoroughly until well-mixed. Turn mixture into 9" pie plate of heatproof glass. with fingers or back of spoon, form high standing rim along edges (crust should extend slightly above edges of pie plate). Compact remaining crust mixture on bottom of pie plate to form an even layer. Chill until needed.
Preheat oven to 325 degree F.
Place chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof bowl. Set over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; set aside.
In large bowl, using sturdy, powerful, hand-held electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and flour at medium speed just until smooth. Scrape beater(s) and bowl often during this process to ensure blending of ingredients. Add eggs and vanilla and beat at a low speed just until smooth.
Measure out 1-1/4 cups of the cheesecake batter. All at once, add it to the melted chocolate, which should still be warm. Quickly, with a sturdy whisk, whisk the two mixtures together until smooth (the chocolate will "seize up" and stiffen as you try to work the batter into it--OK. If there are a few small lumps of chocolate in the mixture, that's OK, too). with a spoon, stir in the miniature chocolate chips until combined. Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Turn the chocolate mixture into the crust, and spread it as evenly as possible. If desired, stir the orange rind into the remaining cheesecake batter only until mixed. By small spoonfuls, place this batter on top of the chocolate batter in the crust. Spread evenly.
Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes. When done, edges of filling will probably have risen somewhat, and center of pie will still be slightly "quivery" when plate is shaken gently.
While pie bakes, prepare topping.
In small bowl, place sour cream and sugar. Mix thoroughly and let stand until needed. When pie is done, remove from oven. TURN OVEN OFF. Quickly, place Topping by spoonfuls all over surface of pie, placing less near edges and more in center. Spread smooth with back of spoon to cover entire surface of pie (Topping will be slightly mounded in center and in a thinner layer at edges).
Replace pie in TURNED-OFF oven; let stand for 4 minutes.
Remove to cooling rack. Cool slightly, then chill at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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This page originally created in 1998 and modified October 2007
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