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You've found the home of my fabulous hand-sewn retro Barbie fashions and delectable recipes from my cookbooks, Chocolate Crimes and Five Step to Chocolate Rehab.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Big, Fat, Yummy Gratuitous Cheesecake

It seems that everyone in the world adores cheesecake, except me.  I had to grin and bear it when my daughter wanted cheesecake at her rehearsal dinner. On the plus side, it has inspired me to work really hard to find a cheesecake I can call "dessert."  My neighbor, Amy, said it was the best cheesecake she ever had. I don't know how much cheesecake she has eaten.  In any case, this seems to be a step up from your average fare.
It is a great make-ahead dessert, especially for your Valentine.
As part of my plan to conquer desserts I despise, I have taken on the lowly cheesecake and attempted to raise it to new heights and caloric levels.  I admit it is very good and extremely rich.  Cut this into tiny slices. If I can’t inspire you to make pralines, just buy some and add to the recipe at the appropriate moment.
praline layer
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
In an 8 cup glass bowl, mix ingredients and cook in microwave for 9-10 minutes.  The mixture will be thick and bubbling. Stir in butter and vanilla.
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir until the mixture gets creamy and starts to cool.  Add pecans.
2 cups pecans, chopped
Stir and drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment paper.   Allow to cool or put in freezer to speed up the process.  You will use about half of the pralines for this recipe. Cut into bite-size chunks.  Reserve ½ cup for swirl and use about 1 cup to cover the chocolate layer.
chocolate layer
In the microwave, heat chocolate for 30 seconds and stir until melted.  Set aside to cool.
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup (one stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.
2 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir in:
1 tablespoon flour
 (continued on next page)
Spread into the bottom of a greased and parchment lined 10 inch springform pan.  Add crumbled pralines. Set aside.
cheesecake layer
16 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
Beat until smooth. Add:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add eggs one at a time, just beating to incorporate.
4 eggs
Then add:
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup heavy cream
Reserve one cup of the mixture and place the rest on top of the praline layer.
In the microwave, heat chocolate for 45 seconds and stir until melted.  Set aside to cool.
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Add cooled chocolate to:
1 cup reserved cream cheese mixture
Beat in:
2 tablespoons mocha powder
Combine completely and add:
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, finely chopped
½ cup praline pieces (reserved from above)
Drop by spoonfuls on top of cheesecake layer and swirl with knife.  Be careful not to disturb the bottom two layers.
Set pan on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325° and bake for 85 minutes more. Lay foil over the top if it begins to brown.  The cheesecake should seem solid except for about a 2 inch radius in the center.  It will keep cooking when removed from oven. Cool for 60 minutes, then refrigerate overnight. Remove from pan by running a knife around the inside edge of the pan and then releasing the clasp on the springform pan.   Remove parchment paper.    
fudgy-wudgy glaze
Cook in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Allow to cool slightly and serve over the cheesecake or use to decorate the plate.
Maryann poses for photographers just before her voice recital.

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