There is one thing that I make when I need something that I am 100% sure is going to be out of this world and come out amazing each and every time. That one thing is cheesecake! I have been making cheesecakes long before I really got into baking. It was for the longest time my one “go to” dessert… Basically, it was the only thing I could make!
Now don’t get me wrong… initially it was pretty tasty but not always pretty. I would crack cheesecakes like crazy! That was the most infuriating part. I would make this creamy masterpiece that would taste like heaven as it crossed your lips but there would be a gigantic fissure smack down the center. That’s when I needed to get creative… whipped cream topping anyone? Fresh fruit perhaps? Anything to hide the crater that appeared as my precious cake chilled.
These days I have less of a cracking issue although there are certainly times when you’ll still see a creatively camouflaged cheesecake. But back to the point, when I need something that’s a surefire success I turn back to my old standby. Recently I was tasked with preparing several desserts for a large family dinner. Knowing that my mother-in-law has a soft spot for chocolate cheesecake, I decided that was the way to go.
This recipe is not overly chocolatey, which is nice because that allows the flavor of the cheesecake to still shine through. It calls for a chocolate sauce that you can drizzle over as well. I didn’t make it this particular time but it’s certainly a nice complement. You just need a drizzle though. So give this rich, creamy cheesecake a try and I’m sure you’ll find yourself making it again and again.
Chocolate Cheesecake by Nigella Lawson
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
2 1/2 cups cream cheese
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon custard powder (If you can’t find this, you can substitute 1 Tbsp of cornstarch, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 extra tsp of sugar)
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark corn syrup
A 9″ springform pan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- To make the base, process the graham crackers to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa. Process again until it makes damp, clumping crumbs and then tip them into the pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.
- Put a kettle on to boil.
- Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler and set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then add the sugar and custard power, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally, add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and melted chocolate and mix to a smooth batter.
- Take the springform pan out of the freezer and line the outside of the pan with a good layer of plastic wrap, and then another layer of foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.
- Sit the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the roasting pan with the just boiled water to come about half way up the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.
- Peel away the foil and plastic wrap and sit the cheesecake in its pan on a rack to cool. Put it in the refrigerator once it is no longer hot, and leave it to set, covered with plastic overnight. Let it lose its chill before removing the pan from the cheesecake to serve.
- To make the chocolate sauce: Very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take it off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and pour it over the chocolate cheesecake on a serving plate.