I’ve made this in both 8 and 10 inch versions and it’s been very well received by cheesecake lovers as well as those who don’t typically delight in cheesecake. This is a great first cheesecake recipe, it’s fairly simple, does not require much hands on work and the very thick layer of ganache on the top covers a multitude of cracks. You need to make the crust and bake the cheesecake one day and do the ganache layer 4 hours or more before you serve it (more is even better.) But, it will be waiting, ready to delight, as you assemble the rest of dinner!
This will serve 12-16. The 10 inch version will serve 20, adjust by multiplying all ingredients by 1.5. When in doubt, go big, remembering that cheesecake freezes well, just stick it in the fridge a day before to defrost.
14-15oz of chocolate cookies (wafer, teddy grahams, etc.)
1 stick + 1 Tb of butter, melted
Grind cookies in food processor until crumbs, add melted butter and combine in food processor until it’s a consistent mixture. If you have trouble finding chocolate wafers, you can also use dietary biscuits + cocoa. I tend to use a mix of all of the above! Spray the bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan with cooking spray and make a ring extension adding another 2″ of height via double walled aluminum foil to the outside of the pan. Press the crust mixture firmly in the bottom of the pan (not the sides.) Stick the pan in the fridge while you make the cheesecake.
THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, in chips or chopped well
1 lb of cream cheese (2 blocks) at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 c. sour cream at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350, adding a pan full of water to the bottom rack to keep the oven moist. Mix the heavy whipping cream and espresso powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until the powder is dissolved. Turn the heat to medium low and add the chocolate, stir with a whisk constantly just until the chocolate is melted and the sauce smooth. Move off the warm burner to cool.
Beat cream cheese and sugar together until blended. Beat in cornstarch, then add sour cream and vanilla. Don’t over mix. Add the three eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined. Whisk a cup or so of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate, then add the chocolate mixture to the rest of the cream cheese, whisking until combined. Pour the filling onto the crust and bake until softly set (jiggly like jello okay) with the edges puffed up, about 45 minutes or an hour for a smaller cheesecake, a long long time for a larger one (2 hours sometimes.) Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the closed oven to cool for another hour. Refrigerate overnight (the cheesecake will settle considerably and level off.)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
8 oz. of bittersweet (dark) baking chocolate, chopped well
Bring whipping cream up to a simmer, whisk in chocolate until smooth. Pour ganache over the cheesecake carefully and refrigerate until well set. If you like your ganache soft, expect 2-3 hours, 4 or more for a harder consistency.