Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I volunteered to bring a dessert to a church function this weekend, and decided to try making a chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I'm always amazed by how surprised people are when they come across homemade cheesecake; they are really not difficult to make. The hard part is not eating the whole thing myself, which is why I tend to make chocolate cheesecakes (they're not my absolute favorite, so it's slightly less of a temptation).

Because this is an intimidatingly long recipe I've tried to include roughly a bajillion pictures. Please let me know if anything is unclear.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350F
Remove the bottom a 8" or 9" springform pan. Cover bottom in aluminum foil, put pan back together and spray with cooking spray.

In a blender pulse the following into a fine powder:
1 package chocolate graham crackers
1 tbsp sugar

I find it's easier to smush the graham crackers while they're still in the package and then pour the broken pieces into the blender to finish.

Cut into large pieces, then add to blender:
1/4 C (half of a stick) butter.

Blend thoroughly. It should look like this:

Press firmly into pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just golden around the edges.

Set crust aside to cool, leave oven on.

Break into pieces:
Three 100g/3.5 oz bars of chocolate. I used the following:

If you can't find raspberry chocolate, I'm sure it would work to use three bars of milk or dark chocolate and then add 2 tbsp or so of raspberry jam. You may have to adjust sugar a bit to taste, though.

Very carefully melt chocolate in a small pan on the stove. Stir constantly; chocolate burns extremely easily!

Set chocolate aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl mix the following:
1- 1.25* Cup sugar 
1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
2 lbs cream cheese at room temperature (I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)

*I used 1 cup + 2 tbsp because I know most people like desserts sweeter than I do. I would normally use 1 Cup).

Cream these together completely! You need to get all the lumps out now or you'll never get rid of them.

Add in chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. 
Add 4 eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth between each one.

Pour into crust.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes at 350F. It should be puffy around the edges and just barely set in the middle when you take it out of the oven. 

Allow to sit for 15 minutes, or until slightly settled. In the meantime, mix:
2 C sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract.

Spread/pour onto cheesecake, put back in oven for 8 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and cool completely.

If desired, take about a handful of chocolate chips (or 2 oz chopped chocolate), and melt in a small bowl in the microwave. This should take about a minute, possibly two. Every thirty seconds you should pull it out of the microwave and stir to get the chocolate evenly melted. DO NOT allow any liquid to touch the chocolate or you will get an unmeltable lump (this happened to me). Once the chocolate is melted, take a fork and drizzle the top of the cheesecake with chocolate.

Chill cheesecake until ready to serve.

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