I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate in Paradise

12 to 16 servings


What is better than cheesecake? How about a dark chocolate glaze over a layer of dark chocolate mousse over a layer of cheesecake? The outside of this dessert is garnished with white and milk chocolate shavings. While not very tall, it is beautiful and elegant. This recipe requires patience and time, and is not for beginners. Once the dessert is assembled, it must chill at least overnight before serving. Use the best quality chocolate you can find; it's worth it for this. The cheesecake, mousse, and glaze are all creamy-smooth and very rich, and the chocolate I chop for this recipe looks happy to be included in it!

The cheesecake layer must be made first. You can make it first thing in the morning, or the night before you want to assemble the dessert. The mousse uses a liquid egg product, found in the dairy case of my local supermarkets. I very seldom use a liquid egg product, but as the egg in the mousse is not cooked, I won't take a chance on getting anyone sick. The brand I use is "Table Ready", distributed nationwide by Papetti Foods of Elizabeth, NJ. Please use this brand; some other brands I have tried do not work in this recipe.

You'll need a serving plate at least 10 inches in diameter for this creation. You'll also need a 9 inch diameter springform pan, preferably nonstick, where the bottom and sides fit tightly together (the cheesecake batter is quite thin), and a cake circle--a corrugated cardboard circle at least 10 inches in diameter, used in cake decorating, available in some party stores and baking catalogs). The dessert should keep for a week in the refrigerator, and it will freeze if you've any leftovers (thaw in the refrigerator overnight, still in wrappings). If you're serving the whole dessert, please let it stand, loosely covered, for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. It will slice more easily, and the dessert tastes even better when it has warmed up just a bit.


Cheesecake Layer:
1 cup heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
Grated zest of 1 large, deep-colored orange
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs, graded "large", plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup orange liqueur
2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice

7 ounces best-quality semisweet OR
   bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup liquid egg product
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

6 ounces best-quality semisweet OR
   bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch salt
2/3 cup heavy cream

White chocolate shavings
Milk chocolate shavings


For Cheesecake Layer:
Trace around the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, onto a cake circle at least 10 inches in diameter. Assemble the springform pan. Cut out the cardboard circle you've traced; make sure it fits tightly into the pan. Tear off two sheets of regular-weight aluminum foil, each about 15 inches long, and form them into an "X" pattern, shiny side down. Place the cardboard circle in the middle of the "X". Bring the foil up and over the cardboard circle, folding the extra foil onto what is now the top side of the circle, and flattening out the extra foil as much as possible (I use a rolling pin to do this). Turn the foil-covered circle over and place into the assembled pan, smooth side up. This step is optional, but it allows you to serve the dessert without fear of scratching the bottom of your springform pan.

Tear off two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, each about 15 inches long, and place them in an "X" pattern. Place the assembled pan in the middle of the "X". Bring the foil up around the pan, pleating and crimping it to the pan as closely as possible. Fold any extra foil back over itself on the outside of the pan. Using softened unsalted butter and a piece of plastic wrap, butter the sides of the pan (do this even if your pan is nonstick).

Have ready a pan that is both larger and shallower than your springform pan; if this pan is aluminum, place about 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar into the bottom to prevent discoloration. Have ready enough simmering water to fill the larger, shallower pan to a depth of one inch. Set all aside near stove.

In small, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pan, combine cream, lemon zest, and orange zest. Place over low heat and stir occasionally until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat; set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In large bowl of electric mixer (preferably fitted with a paddle beater), combine softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed just until perfectly smooth, scraping bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula frequently. At low speed, add yolk, then eggs, one at a time, again scraping bowl and beater(s) frequently with rubber spatula.

Strain the heavy cream through a fine strainer, pressing on the zest trapped in the strainer to extract all possible liquid. At low speed, very gradually add cream to batter, scraping bowl and beater(s) often. Gradually add orange liqueur, then lemon juice. Batter will be thin, but should be perfectly smooth. Pour batter into prepared springform pan; it will come about three-quarters of the way up the sides.

Place the larger, shallower pan on the center rack of the preheated oven. Pour in enough simmering water to cover the bottom of this pan with a thin layer. Using a toothpick or the point of a sharp knife, prick any obvious air bubbles you see in the cheesecake batter. Carefully pick up the springform pan in its foil jacket, and place the entire thing into the larger, shallower pan (the sides of the springform pan should not touch the sides of the larger pan). Now, carefully add more simmering water to the larger pan until the water is about one inch deep (if there is too much more water in the larger pan, baking time may increase, so you might want to check the water depth with a non-wooden ruler). Do not get any water into the cheesecake batter; if you're nervous about this, lay a sheet of foil over the top of the springform pan before adding water, then remove the foil.

Bake the cheesecake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F; bake 1 hour and 35 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes longer. Check the cheesecake after 1 hour; turn it back-to-front, and, if required, carefully add more simmering water to the larger pan to maintain a depth of one inch. During baking, the cheesecake may rise slightly, the edges may buckle a bit, and the cake may pull away from the edges of the pan a while before it is done. At the end of the baking time, the center of the cheesecake will still not be set--OK. Carefully remove springform pan from pan of hot water; set on sturdy cooling rack. Working gently and carefully, cut the aluminum foil "jacket" surrounding the springform pan, and peel the foil from the pan sides. Carefully lift the pan onto another sturdy cooling rack; remove and discard foil from bottom of springform.

Cool the cheesecake at room temperature, out of drafts, for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. If required, loosen gently from sides of pan. Remove pan sides (do not remove pan bottom now); place cheesecake in refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours (cheesecake layer will be less than 1-1/2 inches high). After an hour or so, if you used the foil-covered cardboard circle on the pan bottom, carefully and gently separate the pan bottom from the bottom of the cardboard circle; remove pan bottom (probably, some of the cheesecake batter will have leaked onto the pan bottom, but if your cardboard circle fit tightly, it shouldn't be much). If you did not use the cardboard circle, leave the cheesecake on the pan bottom. Return cheesecake to refrigerator.


Make the Mousse:
Place chopped chocolate and salt in medium heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat 1/3 cup cream (reserve remainder) just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; pour hot cream over chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until smooth.

In small heatproof bowl, combine liquid egg product and sugar. with hand-held electric mixer, beat at low speed to combine. Set over simmering water on low heat (water must not touch bottom of bowl); increase mixer speed to high. Beat mixture at high speed over simmering water for one minute--no longer!! It will increase greatly in volume and become light and foamy. After one minute, remove from heat and simmering water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Scrape egg mixture into melted chocolate. with mixer on medium speed, beat the two together until well-combined, scraping sides and especially bottom of bowl as necessary to blend thoroughly. Set aside to cool to room temperature; it will be a rather thick mixture.

Meanwhile, chill a small bowl. Rinse and dry the mixer beaters, and chill until needed. When chocolate mixture is cooled to room temperature (test a bit on the inside of your wrist to make sure--if it is at all warm, it will deflate the whipped cream), pour remaining 2/3 cup cold heavy cream into the chilled bowl. Add vanilla. Beat at high speed with chilled beaters just until cream holds a soft shape (this is before soft peak stage). Place a large spoonful of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and stir in well. Add remaining whipped cream; fold in gently and quickly but thoroughly until no white streaks remain. Chill mousse for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes of chilling, mousse should be beginning to set. Remove cheesecake and mousse from refrigerator. If you used a cardboard circle for the bottom of your cheeecake, carefully lift up the cheesecake, still on the circle; place a dab of mousse on the center of your serving plate, then put the cheesecake onto the plate, centering it as much as possible. (Optional for a neater appearance: return mousse to refrigerator briefly. Cut 5 or 6 strips of wax paper, each about 2 inches wide; place under cardboard circle or bottom of springform pan so that the cheesecake is completely encircled with wax paper. Only a small portion of the wax paper should be under the cheesecake. Trim wax paper edges so they don't stick out beyond the edges of the serving plate. Remove mousse from refrigerator.) Now, pile about half of mousse onto top of cheesecake. Using an offset spatula if you have one, spread the mousse in an even layer on the top and sides of the cheesecake, exactly as though it were frosting. Most of the mousse should be spread on the top; you don't want a really thick layer on the sides. Pile remaining mousse on top of cake; mound it in the center and spread it just to the cake edges. Straighten sides as best you can with offset spatula or flat knife. Return to refrigerator.


Make Glaze:
Combine chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Pour about half of hot cream over chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until smooth. Gradually stir or whisk in remaining cream. (If necessary, place bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently just until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot water.)

Allow Glaze to cool to room temperature, stirring or whisking gently occasionally. When Glaze has cooled completely (test a bit on the inside of your wrist), it will have thickened slightly. Remove dessert from refrigerator. Very slowly pour glaze onto the top center of the dessert. It will spread somewhat on its own. Working quickly, preferably with an offset spatula, spread some of the Glaze over the sides of the dessert (you want most of the Glaze on the top, so try not to make the layer on the sides too thick). The Glaze will start to set up very quickly. Do not work over any area of the Glaze too much, as it may pull away from the dessert if you do.

While the Glaze cools (or up to several days before making the dessert), make the Garnish. Hold a bar of best-quality white chocolate with some folded paper towelling (that will protect the chocolate a bit from the heat of your hand). (I use 8 ounce bars, but you can use larger or smaller ones. If you use a bar this size, you won't need the whole bar.) Using a vegetable peeler, "peel" straight down one edge of the chocolate bar. If you are very lucky and the conditions are just right, you'll get chocolate curls. Most likely, you'll get shavings--perfectly OK. Change edges once in a while. I usually try for a bit over 1/2 cup of shavings. Repeat this process for a bar of best-quality milk chocolate. Mix the shavings together thoroughly in a small, shallow bowl. Cover airtight and store at room temperature until needed.

Before the Glaze hardens completely, apply the Garnish. with your fingers, pick up a small amount of the mixed chocolate shavings, and pat gently onto the sides of the dessert. Some shavings will fall onto the wax paper--OK, just pick them up and re-apply them to another spot. Cover the sides first, then cover the top, patting the savings in gently. Carefully and gently pull out the strips of wax paper under the dessert by a short end. Return completed dessert to refrigerator (doesn't this look beautiful?). Chill until Glaze is set, then cover airtight, preferably with a domed cover. If you use a domed cover, fasten a paper towel onto the inside top of the cover; this prevents any condensation that forms from dripping onto the dessert. Chill at least 8 hours before serving.

To serve, allow to stand at room temperature, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. To cut, use a large, sharp, straight-edged knife. Run the blade under hot water and shake off before every cut.


I Love Chocolate


Current I Love Desserts
I Love Chocolate Archive

Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You may: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your computer for your own personal use only; and reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

This page created December 1999