Belgian Chocolate Cheesecake
When I started developing a cheesecake for the original store, I wanted the distinctive flavor of dark chocolate to dominate. That meant increasing the proportion of chocolate to cheese in the typical cheesecake recipe and then experimenting to find the perfect dark chocolate, one that would behave when combined with the other ingredients while retaining its rich flavor. I found the answer—a full-bodied, 56 percent Belgian chocolate that remains one of my all-time favorites for baking. If you can't find it, substitute another chocolate in the 56 to 60 percent range. The cocoa percentage is really more important than origin.
There are two moments to be most vigilant when blending ingredients for a cheesecake, because your batter must be absolutely lump-free. The first is when you beat together the cheese with the sugar. The second is when adding the melted chocolate. You want to make sure that no bits of warm chocolate splash onto the sides of the bowl, where they will harden into those dreaded lumps—the kind that do not dissolve in baking.
1 pound semisweet chocolate (preferably 56% cacao by Callebaut),
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Whipped heavy cream or Chocolate Crème Anglaise for serving
(page 173 of the book)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Butter and line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
In a double broiler melt the chocolate over low heat. Remove the top of the boiler when the chocolate is nearly melted and continue stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Cool the chocolate to 90 degrees F, stirring occasionally.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating for an additional 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light, fluffy, and smooth. It should be entirely free of lumps with the consistency of sour cream. In a small bowl, gently whisk together the eggs. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add half of the eggs, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing, adding the remaining eggs.
Still on low-speed, slowly pour the melted chocolate into the center of the bowl, being careful not to let the chocolate splash on the sides of the bowl. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Fold the mixture by hand until no traces of white remain. The mixture will thicken as you fold in the chocolate.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. The pan will be approximately three-quarters full. Place the pan on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, and transfer to the oven. Pour approximately 1/2 inch of simmering water into the baking sheet for a bain-marie. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top appears dull.
Let cool in the pan for 2 to 4 hours.
To remove the cake, run a thin blade around the edges to loosen. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper over the top and invert the cake onto a plate. Peel the parchment paper round from the bottom and turn the cake onto its serving plate. Remove the top parchment. Serve at room temperature with Chocolate Crème Anglaise (page 173) or unsweetened whipped cream. This may be stored in the refrigerator as long as a week.
Divine Desserts and Sweets from the Creator of Fran's Chocolates
by Fran Bigelow and Helene Siegel
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created February 2005