Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on April 5th, 2011
by Clarabella

Family Baking Fun with Chocolate, Dulce De Leche, Hazelnut Cheesecake

My mom and sister visited me for the weekend. It was my mom’s birthday and mother’s day this weekend so it was a bit of a celebration bundle. I took them for pedicures, we went walking in the woods, we drank margaritas, we took funny photos with mac photobooth (hyserical. we laughed until we cried. i recommend it) and we made cheesecake. Great way to spend a weekend.

Sarah (my darling sister) also enjoys baking but somehow it came up in conversation that she had never made a cheesecake before. so I took it upon myself to remedy that. I mean, a girl who likes baking can’t go through life never having made a cheesecake. Next thing you know she becomes scared of cheesecakes, has an unreasonable cheesecake phobia and is undetoing hypnotherapy for cheesecake related neuroses. Ok, I might be exaggerating slightly, but I just though my little sister should experience the joy of making a big, bad cheesecake.

So we stopped past the shops on the way back from our walk in the woods, where we told ourselves that we were working off all the cheesecake calories in advance, and stocked up on Philly. 4 tubs of it. And none of that Philly light, thats ok on bagels and toast, but it has no business being anywhere near a cheesecake. Full fat is the only way to go. Cut your cheesecake slices small if it makes you feel better. Its mega rich so you can’t eat massive pieces anyway.

It may seem like a simple thing, but I really enjoyed the cheesecake baking session. I tried to be hands-off, which is hard for me to do as I may be a slight control freak in the kitchen, but I did my best to only help when needed and not interfere. And apart from the oven taking about 20 minutes longer than it should have to cook the cheesecake, it turned out fabulously. The cheesecake base is split into 1/3 and 2/3.  Melted chocolate is added to the 1/3, and Dulce de Leche is added to the remaining 2/3.  The then go onto the beautiful ginger biscuit and butter base, and into the oven. Once the cake is cooled its lathered with more Dulce de Leche and decorated with smashed up toasted hazelnuts.

As Sarah has discovered, cheesecake is really easy. It might take a while to make with the baking and the chilling and the separate components, but none of these steps is difficult. I hope that she will be attempting another one at home some time, and hopefully posting me a piece too! Or at least a photo. I don’t know if cheesecake travels well in the postal system.

This is a lovely cheesecake, and very unusual with the mixture of chocolate and the Dulce De Leche. The only think I wonder about is that I could not really taste the Dulce de Leche in the cheesecake itself. I wonder if a re-attempt with swirled in ribbons of Dulce de Leche would be in order one day. Just a thought.

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 Chocolate, Dulce De Leche, Hazelnut Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Serves 8-12

What you will need:
For the biscuit base –
220g (8oz) ginger biscuits
90g (3 1/2 oz) melted butter

For the cheesecake topping –
700g (2 1/2 lb) full fat cream cheese
120g (4 1/2 oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
50g Dulce de Leche
50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

For the topping –
4 tbsp Dulce de Leche
2 tbsp toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

What to do:
Line the base of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with baking parchment, then whiz the digestive biscuits into fine crumbs in a food processor with the blade attachment. Alternatively, place the biscuits in a plastic baq, seal it shut and crush with a rolling pin.

2. Pour the biscuit crumbs into a bowl, add the melted butter and stir together. Tip the mixture into the lined cake tin, pressing it into the base of the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to r6o.C (3zo.F), Gas mark 3, and make the cheesecake topping.

Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly on a medium speed after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Transfer a third of the cheesecake mixture to a separate bowl and set aside, then stir the Dulce de Leche into the remaining cheesecake mix and pour or spoon it on to the prepared biscuit base.

In a glass or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate. Once it has melted, allow it to cool slightly, then stir into the reserved cheesecake mixture. Spoon the chocolate cheesecake topping on to the Dulce de Leche mixture in the tin and smooth the top with a spoon.

Place the cake on 2 large squares of tinfoil and bring the tinfoil up around the sides of the tin, crunching it at the top to make it cling to the sides of the tin. Then place the cake in a roasting tin, filling the tin with 1-2 inches of water, but no closer than 1/2in from the top of the cake. This water bath for the cheesecake to bake in should help prevent the top from cracking during cooking.

Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and with only a slight wobble in the middle.

Allow the cheesecake, still in the tin, to cool down to room temperature, and then place in the fridge to set for a few hours, or preferably overnight.

Remove the chilled cheesecake from the spring-form tin, then top with the remaining Dulce de Leche, smoothing it out with a palette knife, and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top to decorate.

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