Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dessert Harmony

Chocolate or vanilla? Which flavor are we in the mood for is often the question in our household. Personally, I'm always in the mood for chocolate, but my children often opt for vanilla. So what to do to keep us happy. Maddie solved the dilemma by choosing a black and white cheesecake for her birthday cake. It satisfied our chocolate craving and our need for vanilla, keeping the dessert harmony in perfect balance.

Harmony is a good thing. It keeps everything in balance. My parents recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Yes, that is correct, 56 years. They are a beautiful example of wedded bliss. An amazing accomplishment. When asked the secret to a harmonious marriage their response was - love and forgive. Stellar advice.

This cheesecake is a nice balance between chocolate and vanilla.  The texture is ultra-creamy and the chocolate pastry adds just the right amount of crunch to accomplish perfect dessert harmony. Whether you are a chocolate addict or a vanilla lover, are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or nothing at all this cheesecake is sure to please everyone.

Process butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a food processor until blended. Add cocoa powder and process until smooth.

Only pulse the processor a few times once the flour is added to make a dough that is crumbly.

Bake crust in a springform pan until set.

Allow cream cheese to soften before using. Don't over-beat cream cheese and sugar or it will become too thin and the cheesecake won't have a creamy texture.

Leave defined areas of chocolate and vanilla batter.

Black & White Cheesecake
Adapted from Cocolat Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts by Alice Medrich

Chocolate pastry
3 ounces (86 g) unsalted butter
1/2 (100 g) cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces/40 g) cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup (110 g) all-purpose flour

Cheesecake filling
5 ounces (150 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) water
24 ounces (680 g) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 (250 g) cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350℉ (175℃).

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and process until creamy. Add cocoa powder and process until mixture is a smooth paste. Add flour and pulse just until crumbly. Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan with a removable bottom. Toss the rest of the crumbs loosely on a baking sheet. Bake bottom crust and loose crumbs for 10 minutes. Remove the baked crumbs, but continue baking the bottom crust another 5 minutes. Cool both on a rake. When the loose crumbs are cool pulverize in a food processor until fine crumbs. Cover and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 325℉ (160℃).

Butter the sides of the springform pan above the cooled crumb base. Put chocolate and water in small bowl. Melt over simmering water or in microwave on 50% power until smooth. Keep warm.

Beat cream cheese in mixer with a paddle attachment. Gradually add sugar, beat just until smooth.  Scrap down bowl and paddle a few times. Add eggs and vanilla just until well mixed. Remove 1 cup (250 ml) of batter and set aside. Pour remaining batter over cooled crust.

Stir warm chocolate into reserved batter. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the vanilla batter. Using a clean spoon scoop down and up to slightly blend the two batters in a marbled pattern. Be careful not to over blend.

Bake until slightly puffed around the edges, but still very soft in the center, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully run a thin knife around the edges to release the cake from the sides of the pan.  Cool on a rake covered by a large inverted bowl to prevent cracking. Once completely cooled cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve remove cheesecake from pan and carefully press reserved pastry crumbs around the sides of the cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment