Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grand Marnier Valrhona Chocolate Cheesecake

Eating a cheesecake is like tasting a bit of heaven. Somehow cheesecake is one of those cakes that almost everybody likes. I do...quite a bit.

I do quite often cheesecakes at home because are a crowd pleaser and I have baked many many versions of it. The most complicated has been the New York style, because of the scale and the most laborious have been the individual sized ones. Adding some additional flavor makes each one a bit different. This one combines Grand Marnier, Valrhona chocolate and cocoa nibs. Can;t get better that that. It is one of my favorites, no doubt.

Now, making cheesecake can be easy, but making a good cheesecake is another game. To me texture is the key. A good cheesecake is smooth, light and creamy. It really doesn't need anything else to be enjoyed. That is why we have to pay attention when we bake it... we want to enjoy the best..and this recipe will give you that. Promise

Also you might ask...why not to substitute the expensive Grand Marnier with something...more affordable. That is OK, just change the recipe's name. I like this one a lot.

Para ver esta receta en español pique aquí

Grand Marnier Valrhona Chocolate Cheesecake

 Cooking Time: 60 Minutes   Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

1 Cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/3 Cup plus 3/4 Cup Caster Sugar, separated


6 Tbsp Butter, melted


3  (225 g ea) Packages of Cream Cheese, softened and room temperature

3 Large eggs, room temperature

1/4 Cup Grand Marnier

1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

1/4 Cup Cacao Nibs



Cooking Instructions

1. In a medium size bowl combine the cracker crumbs with 1/3 of the granulated sugar and the melted butter until fully incorporated. 

2. Cover the bottom of  a 9” springform pan with parchment paper and butter the sides. 

3. Pour the cracker mix into the pan and distribute evenly only on the bottom, not the sides, and press firmly so we get a compact base for the cake. Reserve

4. In the bottom of the oven -or the bottom rack- place a shallow baking pan with boiling water and turn on the oven to 300˚F. The rack for the cheese cake will be in the middle.

5. In a mixer combine the cheese with the rest of the sugar until combined, then add, one by one, the eggs and keep mixing until incorporated (you will get a semi-liquid mix…don’t panic, that is what we are looking for).

6. Add the vanilla and the Grand Marnier and mix a bit more until incorporated. Take a deep breath because the aroma is fantastic.

7. Finally fold the cocoa nibs and pour the mix into the prepared pan.

8. Place the pan into the oven (middle rack), which will be a bit steamy. Allow it to cook between 20 to 30 minutes, but it might take longer (if so, verify every 5 minutes). Here is the most important part:
-We know that the cheese cake is ready when we shake the pan -lightly- and we see the center part wobble but the sides not. It is shinny on the top. If it does not wobble…you over cooked the cake (still is good but not fantastic) and if you take it out when is not ready…you will have a mess. Keep an eye on the “wooblyness of the cake”

9. When ready, remove and place the cake in a cooling rack for 2 hours without opening the mold.

10. While the cake cools down we are going to prepare the Valrhona chocolate cover. First pour some water into a medium size pan that can fit a glass or metal bowl on top -without the bowl touching the water- and put it on the stove, medium-high.

11. Put the metal bowl on top of the boiling water pan and pour the Valrhona chocolate pieces so it melts slowly. Keep stirring until all is melted and forms a smooth texture.

12. Remove the spring form outer ring from the cake and put a tray or a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake’s cooling rack and pour the melted chocolate on top trying to distribute it evenly -only on the top-. It will drip a bit on the sides… that is what we want. Recycle the drippings so we use all the chocolate -put it back and melt it a bit-

13. Once the chocolate cover is even, put the cheese cake in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least 4 hours, then with care remove the bottom of the spring form pan and put the cheese cake in a presentation plate.


14. Enjoy!