I added a twist by using some soft goat cheese along with the cream cheese; the tang of the goat cheese remained in the background, but added just enough of a contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate to balance it a bit. The amount can be increased if you like.
The half pint of fresh raspberries left in the fridge was folded into some whipped cream and served along with the cheesecake. Yum all around!
Heat the oven to 350F and have an 8" diameter springform pan ready.
I used about one third of the crust recipe from the post Coconut Cashew Bars as my base.
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Make sure it is well combined before pressing it evenly into the bottom of the pan.
Bake until set and golden, about 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt:
8 ounces finely chopped white chocolate.
Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, cream together:
12 ounces softened cream cheese
4 ounces soft goat cheese
1/2 cup sugar
Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl as needed, but make sure that there are no lumps of cream cheese left before proceeding.
the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Add, one at a time, scraping the bowl down in between each addition:
Mix in the cooled white chocolate.
1/2 cup sour cream
Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, and place it into a roasting pan.
Scrape the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan.
Add about 1" of warm water to the roasting pan, and place it into the oven.
Bake until the cheesecake is set, firm to a gentle touch but still moves slightly in the centre when the pan is tapped. This should take about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and dipping the point of a small sharp knife into the hot water, carefully run it between the cheesecake and the pan to separate them before cooling.
Take the pan out of the foil and cool the cheesecake on a rack for about half an hour and then refrigerate overnight. Run a knife dipped in hot water around the outside of the cheesecake, separating it completely from the pan. Gently release the ring of the springform pan and remove it. Smooth the outside of the cheesecake with a warm knife. Remove the cake from the bottom of the pan and place it onto a plate.
Whip to soft peaks:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of ground cardamom
1 cup fresh raspberries into the whipped cream.
If you still have a chunk of white chocolate, make some decorative curls for the top if the cheesecake, by using a vegetable peeler.
Cut the cheesecake into portions, and serve them garnished with the white chocolate curls, some fresh raspberries and passing the raspberry whipped cream on the side. This is a very decadent, rich dessert, but something that everyone will enjoy!
- I used the leftover crust from the Coconut Cashew Bars as the base for my cheesecake because I knew it was in the freezer, and because I had no graham crumbs to use. If you prefer to, use a graham crumb base for your cheesecake crust; a good ratio is 4:1 graham crumbs to melted butter.
- Any unfilled stale cookies can be ground up in the food processor and used instead of just graham crumbs....biscotti, digestives, gingersnaps. Nuts can also be added.
- Cardamom is a spice with a distinctive flavour. I love it, but some people find it an acquired taste. It is optional in this recipe; omit it or exchange it for another spice such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or even ground black pepper (a good choice with raspberries and goat cheese).
- It is very important to make sure that no lumps remain after creaming the cheeses and sugar together. The lumps are harder to eliminate after the eggs have been added.
- The chocolate needs to be liquid, but not hot...body temperature is good. If it is too hot it will melt the cream cheese when you add it to the batter; if it is too cold it will not blend properly.
- Milk chocolate can be substituted for white if you want.
- Plain Greek yoghurt can be used instead of sour cream.
- The cheesecake needs to sit overnight to chill and set properly before being unmoulded and served. The baked cheesecake will last in the fridge, well covered, for up to five days. It can also be frozen if you like.
- The reason for running the tip of a knife between the pan and the top edge of the cheesecake when it comes out of the oven is to avoid it cracking as it cools. This releases it from the pan so that it can cool and shrink without sticking to the pan.
- Baking the cheesecake in a water bath is another way to avoid cracking. The water keeps the oven temperature even, and the moisture it provides stops the cheesecake from drying out, resulting in a moist and creamy dessert.
- Make a full recipe of the Coconut Cashew Bars crust, line a 9" X 13" pan with foil and press the crust onto the bottom, bake until set and golden. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust and bake until set. Cool completely before cutting into bars and decorating.