November 30, 2012
Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake
Wine Varietal or Liqueur Pairing: Raspberry Dessert Wine, Kahlua, or Amaretto
Serves 8 to 12
Thanks to Nancy Nipples, proprietor of The Pike Place Market Creamery, for this recipe, which was printed in the second edition of the “Pike Place Market Cookbook.” Dense cheesecake fortified with espresso and chocolate and paired with a chocolate cookie-crumb crust is a sensuous experience to make and a celestial experience to eat—the perfect decadent dessert to enjoy over the holidays and also a great addition to the holiday buffet table.
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
26 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso coffee (do not use liquid espresso or instant espresso powder)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup hot espresso or extra-strength coffee
1 cup whipping cream
36 dark-chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or the top of a double boiler (see Cook’s Hint below), being careful not to scorch the chocolate or let it contact the water. Pour into a bowl and reserve.
3. To make the crust, place the cookies, the 2 tablespoons sugar, ground coffee, and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly and pour into the prepared springform pan. Pat the crumb mixture on the bottom of the pan and up the sides if enough remains. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
4. To make the filling, place the softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer at low to medium speed until creamy. Add the 1 cup sugar to the cream cheese and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Sprinkle the flour over the cream-cheese mixture and blend thoroughly. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, being sure each is thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the reserved melted chocolate, hot espresso, and whipping cream at low speed.
5. Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave the cake in the oven an additional 40 minutes without opening the door. Place the cheesecake on a wire rack and cool completely, then garnish the edges of the cheesecake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired.
6. Refrigerate at least overnight, or preferably for 1 or 2 days to let the flavors meld. Slice and serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Cook’s Hint: To melt chocolate, first chop it into small pieces. Pour water into the bottom pot of a double boiler, bring the water barely to a simmer (do not boil!), then put the chocolate in the top of the double boiler and place it over the warm water. Slowly melt the chocolate while stirring constantly. Make sure that no steam or condensation from the spoon comes in contact with the chocolate at any point. If the natural starch in the chocolate combines with water, the mass will thicken or “seize,” making it lumpy and unusable. When the chocolate is about halfway melted, remove the top pot and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Alternatively, to melt chocolate in a microwave, put it into a microwave-safe dish and microwave on LOW for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave on LOW another 30 seconds and stir again. If big lumps of chocolate still remain, microwave another 30 seconds. Continue this process until only small lumps remain, then stir to finish melting.