Thursday, 22 October 2009

Chocolate Cheesecake

I first made this chocolate cheesecake about five months ago when I was in Cornwall on a weekend break from university. I was baking up Pear and Caramel Cakes and Cherry Cheesecake among other things, but this was the biggest hit when I took it back to Oxford. Like the Cherry Cheesecake, I had to transport this frozen back to college - hence the frosty sheen. For some reason - saving it up for last and best perhaps - it has been lurking in the back of my mind waiting to be posted about ever since.

I recently made this again for our Parenting Dinner. At my college - like most Oxford colleges - we have a parenting scheme where two older students get 'married' and look after two 'babies' or freshers come the beginning of their first term. At the end of freshers week we get together and provide a dinner in our flats. This was one of two puddings, along with a Lemon Meringue Pie (the normally nicely behaved meringue had a bit of a tantrum, as did I over it - but the cheesecake came through and behaved in a very elegant manner).

When I was planning this I wanted to have a very creamy feel but to stop it getting too rich or heavy. I found that whipping the cream meant that it ended up quite light, and the lime cuts through any excess richness. I love mascapone in these kind of desserts, so I used that as a base. Do remember that it will have raw egg as it isn't cooked.

I don't know if the gelatine really makes a massive improvement - the first time I made this I didn't add any and it was lovely. Though it is quite squishy. The second time I did add it and it kept its shape better, but I don't know that I really prefer it. I think the egg might keep some of the shape - I'm not sure.

Chocolate Cheesecake
(Serves about 8-10)

For the base:
125g digestive or oat-based biscuits
50g butter

Put the biscuits into a plastic food bag and then crush them with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a small saucepan then mix in the crushed biscuits, making sure they're evenly coated. Press into a 8"/20cm round loose based tin and put into the fridge.

For the filling:
250g mascapone
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate
225ml cream
1 lime
1/2 sheet gelatine (if desired - check instructions on the packet with the amount)

Beat the mascapone, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Split into two bowls, putting 1/3 of the mixture into one and the remaining 2/3 into the other. Melt the chocolate, let it cool, then fold into the 1/3 bowl. To the 2/3 bowl add the juice of the lime, then whip the cream and fold it in too. Make up the gelatine according to instructions and fold into the 2/3 bowl. Pour the contents of the 2/3 bowl into the tin, then swirl in the chocolate 1/3. My swirling technique isn't all that - I just put blobs around the place and then run a knife through. Pop into the fridge and chill for at least an hour before serving.