Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recipe: "Kahlua" Cheesecake

I've probably mentioned this before, but I'm rather quite famous in my circle of friends and family for my cheesecakes.  Every year at Thanksgiving I am asked to provide my pumpkin cheesecake, which is a breath of fresh air to the traditional and sometimes boring pumpkin pie (although I LOVE me some pumpkin pie for breakfast).  And every year, my husband requests a cheesecake for his birthday.  Truth be told, it's actually been two years since I made him one.  I was horribly ill on his birthday last year and couldn't bake anything at all, and the year before that he wanted a pirate birthday party, so I made my pirate cake.  So it was about time I made him another one.  I think it was over avocado margaritas with my cousin that the words "kahlua cheesecake" were uttered and Michael's eyes widened as he leaned over to me and whispered, "That's what I want for my birthday this year!"  Okey dokey, honey.  You want it?  You got it!

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I did some searching and found a great recipe at My Baking Addiction.  Jamie not only has great recipes, but she has some fantastic photos too (Side note: I am now inspired to build a light box of my own so that I can take some decent photos of my work).  Her method was a little bit different than mine (I usually pre-bake my cheesecake crusts for a few minutes before adding the batter) and she also uses a much smaller pan than I do.  I typically use a 10" spring form or in this case, my new deep dish tart pan with removable bottom.  I have been hankering after one of these since I saw Alton Brown use one on his apple pie episode.  Not only can I use it for tarts, but it works beautifully with cheesecakes and pies too.  Yum!  

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This cake went over well with all of the adults at the party we held for my husband and our friend's son who was turning one.  The flavor is rich and mellow with subtle coffee undertones.  It was perfectly balanced with some homemade whipping cream on top and a little drizzle of chocolate syrup.  I hope you enjoy it as much we did!  

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Kahlua Cheesecake
For the Crust:
2 c chocolate cookie crumbs
6 TBSP butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Batter:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 TBSP whipping cream
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 10" springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.


2. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter, and the cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into the greased springform pan.


3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth.


4. Melt the semisweet chocolate in the microwave in short spurts until almost melted.  Then add in the whipping cream and heat one more time.  Mix until smooth.


5. Add the chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, and vanilla; beat until smooth.


6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake in the center of oven at 350F (175C) for 45 minutes. Center will be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not over bake. Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven and chill for 12 hours.


Food for thought...
  • I've kept most of Jamie's recipe here, but I've increased the amount of cookie crumbs and butter in the crust since I made a larger cheesecake.  My pan is 10" x 2".  If you use a smaller pan, cut the butter and crumbs down by half.
  • I've removed the Kahlua in my version.  I only did this because I didn't have any on hand, and I felt that the cake was just fine without the minuscule amount her recipe calls for anyway, but please feel free to add it if you choose!  You would add in 1/4 c of Kahlua (or other coffee flavored liqueur)
  • When melting the chocolate, I do it on 50% power for 30 second bursts in my microwave.  You don't want the mixture to be piping hot, so watch it carefully.  You can also melt it over a bain marie, but that's more hassle than it's worth unless absolutely necessary!
  • To bake the cheesecake in a water bath (which is highly recommended), wrap the bottom and sides of your pan in foil, then place it in the center of a large baking vessel that can contain the pan and about 2 cups of water.  Once you've added the batter to the pan, pour water into the larger vessel and carefully place it in the oven.  Check about 25 minutes in and replenish the water if needed.  The moisture from the water prevents the cheesecake from cracking on top.  I got a little bit of cracking, but it wasn't very noticeable once all was said and done.
Happy baking,
Kelly

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