"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One More Thing

As summer draws to its inevitable close, and the first day of school approaches, we've been jam-packing each and every day with One More Thing.  One more birthday party, one more trip to the coast, one more float down the river, one more day at the lake, one more day spent celebrating this, the Season of all Seasons.  (At least in this gal's humble opinion.)

We're not much different, really, than animals busy preparing for winter.  As they're stockpiling food, we're stockpiling all the warm, sunny day memories, to buoy us through the cooler (cold) days ahead, spent more often indoors than out.  Hard, in these lovely days, to wrap our heads around the fact that it's almost over, for this year...

But, there are always new adventures to look forward to, with the change in the seasons...

(The kiddos are rather giddy about returning to school.)

Alright, down to business though.  I did have a point to this post, aside from nostalgic ramblings...that is, a recipe, of course!  We just celebrated the Mister's birthday, and he requested a chocolate cheesecake.  The very same chocolate cheesecake that he made last year, for my birthday.  From my well-loved, and oft-used cookbook, My French Kitchen, by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde.  

This is not a cheesecake in the usual American sense.  Not a lick of cheese in there, you see.  Instead, it's rather similar to a mousse, on a cookie crust.  It's a duo of white and bittersweet chocolate, made of creme fraiche and cream, with the loveliest background hints of cinnamon and kahlua.  Undeniably rich, but with more of a lightness than the typical cheesecake.  How could you possibly go wrong there?

You can't.

Okay, little disclaimer.  One, I've not photographed the entire cheesecake, because I just couldn't.  We had some very ready for dessert folks, and I didn't want to risk losing a finger due to a cake emergency.  This is all I could manage.  Two, I did not successfully marble my white and dark chocolate.  I believe I finished that cake well past my bedtime, and got a little sloppy, what with all the yawning, and distracting longing for my bed.  It doesn't matter though, it tasted delicious, even if it wasn't quite as pretty as it's meant to be.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Cheesecake - adapted from My French Kitchen
- makes one 8 inch cake, using a springform pan

1 1/2 cups (7 oz) finely crushed chocolate chip cookies (I used my food processor to crush a crisp, dry cookie, from Trader Joe's)
6 Tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 1/2 oz bittersweet (70% cocoa) chocolate
8 oz creme fraiche
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup, plus 2 Tbs, heavy cream
1 Tbs coffee liquor, such as Kahlua
3 1/2 oz white chocolate, grated
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix the crushed cookies with the melted butter and cinnamon, and press into a lightly buttered (base and sides), 8-inch springform pan.  If you're unwilling to trust your pan's non-stick-ness, cut a circle of parchment to fit on the buttered bottom, and press the the cookie crust onto that.

Chop the bittersweet chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  (I use my old-school pyrex bowls for this.)  Remove from the heat when there are a few last bits of chocolate not quite melted, and stir until they melt away.  Cool until tepid.

Beat together the creme fraiche and brown sugar until blended, then add the heavy cream and mix just until smooth.  Do not beat until it forms stiff peaks, the mixture will thicken with chilling.  Divide the mixture evenly between two bowls.  Gently fold in the melted chocolate and kahlua into one, and the grated chocolate and vanilla into the other.

Spoon dollops of the two mixtures onto the cookie crust and lightly mix with a fork to create a marbled affect.  (Or attempt this, but due to sleep deprivation, you too may struggle.  Don't judge, it'll still taste fabulous.)  Chill for 3 hours before serving.

I grated some white and dark chocolate over the top, to garnish.  Okay, I admit it.  I did it in a pathetic attempt to hide the marbling failure.  But it's damn tasty.  So go for it.

The Mister gave it a Cheeky Thumb's Up.

Such a goof.  

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