Monday, 5 September 2011

New York chocolate cheesecake... at least I think that’s what it means?

I had some friends over last week.  The last time they’d been round I’d served them an incredibly disappointing almond, sultana and sherry torte with some vanilla buttermilk ice cream.  The torte was bland, the ice cream solid.  In fact the ice cream was so solid it was served in bricks and could have been put to better use by aspiring shot-putters loitering around the Olympic training grounds!

Anyway I quite wanted to offer something a little more appetising this time... (enter stage left:) a recipe which my uncle very kindly sent me from Germany.  It was for a New York chocolate cheesecake.  Apparently when my aunt made it for their friends it was a show stopper... I was sold!  I absolutely adore cheesecake!!

The recipe arrived and was translated with the help of some pidgin-Austrian I picked up the winter I worked in St Anton and a very dubious translation website...  I’m sorry, it’s telling me to do what with the what?!”  I have to admit, although something will have been lost in translation - oh my, was it tasty!

We had a competition to see who could get a photo of the prettiest slice to put on here... unfortunately we weren't overly successful.  The first slice somehow arrived on the plate without any biscuit attached in a miscommunication regarding which base  shouldn't be hacked through: cheesecake or cake tin.  Needless to say, despite all the yelling ("mind the base... mind the BASE!"), given that we were slicing with a carving knife, the cake tin is no longer non-stick! 

The second slice started off well but in the midst of a fit of over-the-top gloating it ended up upside-down... by the time we'd (finally) got a picturesque slice (three-quarters of a cheesecake later) I was laughing so much any photos I took were blurred into obscurity! 

Note to self: must take photos before getting stuck into the wine!

Preheat the oven to 175˚C.  Line the base of a spring-form cake tin with baking parchment. 

Melt the butter and crush the biscuits.  Mix together the crumbs, butter and cocoa.  Press the mixture into an even layer covering the base of the tin.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature while you make the topping.

Gently melt the white chocolate with the crème fraiche.  I used short bursts in the microwave but a bain marie would also work.  Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla sugar and icing sugar.  Spoon in the melted white chocolate mixture and gently stir to combine but making sure not to over-mix!

Spoon the creamy chocolate mixture over the base.  Then chill for at least 6 hours so that it solidifies.

Run a knife around the edges before loosening the spring-form tin and serve covered with grated chocolate.  Berries make a good accompaniment to cut through the richness... and boy is this rich!

New York Chocolate Cheesecake: serves 10
200g ginger snap biscuits
100g butter
2tbsp cocoa
200g white chocolate
100g crème fraiche
600g cream cheese
2tbsp vanilla sugar
100g icing sugar
50g white chocolate, grated for decoration

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