I announced earlier that in honor of March Madness, I decided to create a dessert bracket with 16 styles of desserts. I’ve invited 16 great chefs to each take a category and make a recipe to enter into battle. I ranked the 16 based on my view of which was the favorite and like any bracket, the favorites are matched against the lower seeds. I won’t give you my seeding because I do not want to artificially impact your choices.
I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:
- Dodo Book for Cooks
- A beautiful Bamboo Cutting Board with a Butterfly Motif, graciously donated by competitor Lindy (The Kozy Nook)
This week’s pairing is:
Cheesecake vs. Pudding and Mouse
Today we have Chad from Cooking Cove with a delicious cheesecake…
Good day and welcome. I’m Chad and my culinary blog can be found at www.cookingcove.wordpress.com . I cover a broad range of food items ranging from quick and simple meals- to show you can indeed make a wholesome meal on the quick side to elaborate multi course dishes and a variety of cakes and pastries.
Well enough about me, let’s get into what you all want- Cheesecake. For as long as I can remember, every year when it was my dad’s birthday my mom would always make a cheesecake. Looking back on it, as a kid I did not mind the New York style we would always have with the fruit “pie” filling to top- it seemed to vary but I think cherry and strawberry were the two “go-to” flavors. As I have gotten older however, my sweet tooth has changed (it’s not just being about sweet and sugary like when I was a kid) but rather move complex flavors and combinations- which is right where cheesecake fits in. It is such a versatile dessert, i.e. there are a variety of cheese combinations to add different flavors as well as numerous fillings and toppings that you can add to them (just look at places like The Cheesecake Factory).
So, without further ado, I present to you my
Chocolate Italian Style Cheesecake
1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers (I used Honey)
1 ½ cups ground Macadamia nuts
2 tsp unsweetened butter (at room temperature)
The crust is the easy part. Take said ingredients and put into the food processor. The butter is mainly to make it stay together- sort of a pasty texture. This is then spread around the bottom of a 9 inch Spring-form pan. With the oven pre-heated to 350 degrees, this is placed in the oven for 15 minutes to bake and then taken back out to cool. Upon removal, drop the oven temperature down to 325.
16 ounces Cream cheese (typically come in 8 ounce packages)
16 ounces Mascarpone cheese (typically come in 8 ounce packages)
1 ½ cups melted chocolate (I used Valrhona 70% Guanaja)
½ cup Sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Mixed Berry Filling
1 ½ cups diced strawberries
1 ½ cups halved blackberries
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tsp Corn starch
For the batter, I took the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and proceeded to mix with the whisk attachment on my blender. The chocolate I melted down in a saucepan on the stove. While the batter was still mixing, I slowly poured in the chocolate until well blended.
All the ingredients for the mixed berry filling were put into a small saucepan and put on medium heat. This was then brought to a simmer and with constant stirring was heated until it came to a thickened state (not so runny/liquidy). I put in the refrigerator until it became cooled.
I then took the batter and poured about half of it into the spring-form on top of the crust. I then gave this a few minutes to settle (putting in the refrigerator helps this) and took back out. I proceeded to spoon on the mixed berry filling all around the top of the batter. I then put back into the refrigerator again to regain a more solid structure and then poured on top the rest of the batter.
With the oven pre-heated to 325 I proceeded to get the cake ready for baking. I took out a large roasting pan and put in the spring form pan with the cake. I then filled the pan up about 2/3 the side of the pan with water and proceeded to bake the cake for about a hour and a half. Upon completion of this, I left the cake on the counter to get to room temperature, then covered with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to solidify it’s internal structure.
Chocolate Glaze (from Bouchon Bakery)– Makes excess
110 grams 70% chocolate
10 grams unsweetened chocolate
300 grams neutral glaze
112 grams heavy cream
I would like to say sorry for the weighted style of this particular component, however Bouchon Bakery like most professional bakeries do their recipes by weighing out their products. I will also point out that this recipe gives more than enough glaze for this project (I had used some previously for eclairs). The neutral glaze gets warmed to 140 F. In a separate saucepan the cream is heated and then poured over the chocolate and whisked until smooth. The neutral glaze is then pushed through a mesh strainer and then added to the chocolate cream mixture. Since this was previously made, I had it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. I just took the container out, put in the microwave to make it a liquidy consistency and brushed it over the top of the cake to my liking.
Meringue Whipped Cream
1 cup Heavy Cream
½ cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp lemon juice
As opposed to a plain old whipped cream, I used a little meringue in mine. I started off with the egg whites, ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon juice and mixed until peaks started to form. I then proceeded to add in the rest of the sugar and also the cream and mixed until stiff peaks. This was then placed in small mounds on the top of the cake and either a strawberry or blackberry was placed on top. I then finished the cake by grating white chocolate on the top of the cake.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If you like cheesecake and chocolate then this is a good blend of those two styles. Like any type of cake, components can be modified or removed. Some people may not like berries so you can remove them, others may not be as fond of chocolate.