Friday, June 5, 2009
I don't think it is a secret that Brooke and I really really like cheesecake (don't act like you are too good for it!). I'm sure I have mentioned the past shame of eating 3/4 of a full cake by myself in the course of a couple of days before taking the last quarter to a party and begging my girlfriends to take it away from me before I did myself in. This is that cake! Well, it's not that particular cake, which was long ago in my belly, but one I made again using the same recipe, this time knowing I would have guests to help with the eating. Even though it is made with a good amount of white chocolate, it doesn't have that overly sweet taste some people don't like about white chocolate. It is just subtle and perfectly delish. It's also flexible in that it is flavor that goes well with a lot of different fruit toppings if you decide you want to try to make your cheesecake seem "healthier."
White Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake:
3/4 cup hazelnuts (optional)
12 whole graham crackers, broken (I up this to 15-18 if not using the nuts)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
3 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt), finely chopped
3 tablespoons liqueur (I used Kahlua, but if I have Bailey's or Tia Maria I use what I have that tastes like coffee or chocolate or both)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Wrap aluminum foil around outside of pan. Place hazelnuts in pie pan and roast until brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to kitchen towel, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Rub hazelnuts with towel to remove husks. Chop coarsely in food processor. Add graham crackers and sugar and process until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together. Press crumbs into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool crust on rack.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in white chocolate and hazelnut liqueur. Pour filling into crust, covering completely.
Bake cake until edges are set and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, a little over an hour. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.) Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Cut into wedges and serve. You can cook it in a bain marie (on a tray filled with water) if you feel that helps avoid cracking. I feel like cracking is pretty inevitable with a nice cream colored cheesecake, and instead of fretting about it, I just put something pretty on top like chocolate shavings, fruit, whipped cream or all of those. I mean really, who looks at a cheesecake for more than a few seconds before it is gone!