I don’t do Valentine’s Day. Never have. Irrespective of my relationship status, it has failed my entire life to enthuse me. But I acknowledge and accept that others do, and for those who wish to do so by making something special for their beloved, rather than enduring a ghastly night out at a restaurant full of nauseatingly loved-up couples (getting an idea of what I really think about Valentines’ Day?), then here is a dessert for you. This chocolate cheesecake is velvety smooth, rich yet with a lovely tang that balances it beautifully. And if you are sans beloved this Valentines’ Day, then I think making this for yourself would be a great way to show some self-love
This is essentially Nigella’s chocolate cheesecake but I make it a little differently. I use different ingredients for the base, and I don’t smother the top with more chocolate as Nigella does because, quite frankly, it’s rich enough with out it. I prefer to top it with a dusting of cocoa and fresh berries. Furthermore, I do the whole thing in the food processor, instead of bashing the biscuit base by hand and using the mixmaster for the filling, as Nigella does. I find it helps prevent little flecks of un-blended cream cheese that I experienced the other way.
Beside the fact that it was Valentine’s Day, I have had a few requests for this post since I made a larger version at Christmas. And my son has been nagging me to make this ever since, so here we are.
And now, on every other day of the year, if you want to make your loved one feel special, do the dishes, the vacuuming and a load of washing. With no fanfare
If you wish to make the larger version of this, google Nigella’s chocolate cheesecake and off you go (and if you want to make my base for the large version instead of hers, multiply the ingredients below x 3).
You can make this on the day, but give yourself a few hours ahead of time – about four hours all up – especially if you’ve never made a cheesecake before. It’s not difficult, but you do need to follow the recipe carefully and you don’t want to be rushed.
You will need an 11cm springform pan, which I bought from Essential Ingredient, but other specialty cake or kitchen supply stores should have them.
For the base:
- 3 Oreo biscuits
- 6 Choc Ripple biscuits
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 60 grams dark, 70% chocolate, such as Lindt, Green & Black’s, or the Aldi Organic Dark Chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon good quality cocoa, plus extra for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and put the kettle on.
Pulse the chocolate biscuits in a food processor until grainy, add the butter, and pulse again until sandy.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan (you don’t need to oil or line it or anything). Keep adding and pressing the mixture to form a base that goes up the sides. Don’t worry about making it even around the sides, part of the appeal I think is the contrast between the evenness of the layer of filling with the unevenness of the base it sits on. Just make sure the bottom is covered well.
Put in the freezer while you make the filling.
Wipe all the crumbs out of the food processor with a paper towel. Put the cream cheese in and process until smooth. Add the custard powder and sugar, process again to combine, then add the egg and egg yolk and sour cream. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or over a double boiler on the stove, but I think in a pyrex jug in the microwave is the simplest way) and add, with the half teaspoon cocoa powder. Process until all smooth.
Pour the mixture into the pan, covering the base, until you have an even layer that is almost up to the top, but leave a little room for the wrapping that is coming.
Now waterproof the pan. Wrap the whole pan with a layer of cling wrap, then a layer of foil, folding the foil over the top and tucking the clingwrap under the foil, so the plastic is not in danger of touching the food. You could also do this before pouring the mixture in if you like, I just did it this way and it worked.
Put the pan into a baking dish and pour the boiling water in the dish until halfway up the cheesecake pan.
Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the pan, carefully, from the oven and its bain marie, and immediately remove the foil and clingwrap. Let it rest in the pan for at least half an hour before removing the outer ring (place it on a glass smaller than the pan to do this).
Allow to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or longer if you have it. Dust with cocoa, and decorate with raspberries or whatever else you like. Personally I think the combination of chocolate and raspberries is unbeatable. If you are using frozen raspberries, as I have, add them right before serving as they will start to melt quickly. You could serve this with some cream or icecream, but really, it doesn’t need it.