January 30, 2008

Heart of Darkness Cheesecake

for the crust:
1 1/2 cups of Intensely Dark Chocolate Icebox Cookie crumbs*
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly

for the cheesecake:
6 eggs
2 lbs cream cheese
1 lb sour cream
3 oz 85% dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 250.
For the crust- Mix the crumbs and the butter until damp. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

For the cheesecake-
In a large bowl, slowly cream together the chocolate, cocoa, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. Add the eggs and sour cream, mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan. Allow to sit 2 minutes, then tap the pan on the counter to encourage any air bubbles to come to the surface and burst. Bake 2 hours or until the surface is mostly set- the middle inch or so might still look not even less set, almost jiggly**. Remove to the counter and run a knife or thin spatula around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm. Refrigerate leftovers.

*Pulse halved cookies in a food processor until they resemble coarse sand.

**Overbaking or poking the center might result in a crack. Resist the urge. Alternately, cover or cut around the crack.

My thoughts:
This is the ne plus ultra of chocolate cheesecakes. It is not the time for calorie counting, weight-watching, using low fat products or for the faint of heart. Cheesecake is always impressive (despite being relatively uncomplicated to make) to serve to guests and chocolate cheesecake even more so. I generally avoid ordering chocolate flavored cheesecakes in restaurants because I find that they are often just a regular cheesecake with a slight cocoa flavor. That's not a problem with this cheesecake. The chocolate flavor is very strong and is accentuated by the very dark chocolate crust and the tang of the cream cheese and sour cream. The sour cream also keeps the cheesecake from becoming too firm or overly dense. The combination of 85% dark chocolate and cocoa result in a complex chocolate flavor that is unlike any I've had in a cheesecake.

Note: The intense chocolate flavor eliminates the need for sauces or a topping of any kind, but if you are the gild the lily type, a dollop of whipped cream would not be out of place.