Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my husband's all time favorite desserts.  Chocolate and hazelnut just push it over the top.  I knew I wanted to make one for his birthday dinner, but didn't find any recipes that met all the requirements.  Instead this is a combination of three different recipes and one tutorial on how to peel hazelnuts.  Who knew?

First up, the hazelnut shortbread cookie crust:
(from Pig Pigs Corner) - converted from metric just for you!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled (see this tutorial if yours have the skins on like mine - it's not as simple as you would think)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg.  (I added 1 tsp vanilla at this point also.)  Add flour, corn starch, and hazelnuts.  Mix just to combine.  Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch spring form pan and bake at 325 F for 15 minutes.  I used all of the dough and made a thick crust.  Feel free to use less.  This will only par bake the crust.  Don't expect it to brown.

Next, the cheesecake:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon zested (I omitted this because of the chocolate and hazelnut)
1 tsp vanilla extract
I added 1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with paddle attachment until soft and lump free.  Add eggs one at a time, then slowly add sugar.  Add sour cream and extracts.

Pour mixture over cooled crust and wrap bottom of spring form pan in foil.  Then place in a large baking dish or roasting pan and pour boiling water about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the cheesecake.  Water baths are a pain, but it made for a super creamy, moist, and crack free cheesecake.

Bake for 45 minutes at 325 F.  Cheesecake should set, but may slightly jiggle.  You just don't want a big "wave".  I usually turn off the oven and let cheesecake sit for another 30 minutes with the door closed, then cool completely on the counter.  Chill for several hours or overnight before moving on.

Finally, the nutella ganache:
Place 3/4 cup nutella in a heat safe bowl.  Warm 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small sauce pan until just shy of boiling.  Pour cream over nutella and slowly stir to combine.  Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Pour over cooled cheesecake.  I had more peeled hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup) leftover, so I toasted them and finely chopped them in the food processor, then sprinkled over the ganache.  Return to fridge to set up.

A little hazelnut liquor (Frangelico) in the cheesecake or the ganache would have been nice, too!

No comments: