February 10, 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake with a Speculoos Crust


Ingredients:
for the crust:
1 1/2 cups of speculoos crumbs (I used my Vita-Mix but a food processor would work)
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly

for the cheesecake:
4 eggs
32 oz (regular or reduced fat) cream cheese
16 oz plain Greek yogurt (full fat, 2% or 0% are all fine)
4 1/2 oz 70% dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:
Preheat oven to 250.
For the crust- Mix the crumbs and the butter until damp. Press firmly into the bottom of 6 4 inch springform pans or 1 9 inch 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 yogurt, mix thoroughly. Pour into pan(s). Allow to sit 2 minutes, then tap the pan(s) 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 even less set, almost jiggly-keeping in mind that smaller pans might require less time in the oven, perhaps. 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.

My thoughts:
When I was obsessively reading everything I could about Belgium in preparation for our trip (thankfully the Flemish sites always had a English section and I got a lot of use out of my HS french) I came across a mention that cheesecake in Belgium is often made with a speculoos crust. We didn't end up eating any cheesecake while in Belgium (too busy eating moules et frites, croquettes aux crevettes grises and our wonderful 10(+!) course meal at Patrick Devos) but I loved the idea and made a mental note to make it myself when we got back. It took a little while but I am glad I finally made it. The cookies make the perfect crust, crisp and flavorful. The cheesecake is really creamy and chocolate-y, not too sweet. I bet this crust would also be great with a vanilla bean or even spiced cheesecake. I may have to experiment again.

Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I used a set of Wilton heart shaped springform pans I found at Target. I couldn't find the set online, but I found what seems to be identical pans sold individually.