Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cheesecake with Chocolate, Caramel and Hazelnuts

Yesterday I posted about Y's Father's Day gift. The very idea of it cracked me up, which is precisely why I went down that path. I actually wasn't planning on baking him anything, for no other reason than that I am feeling pretty lazy (just over 7 weeks until the little one is due). But, Father's Day morning rolled around and I felt kind of bad for not baking him something. So, I asked what he wanted and he asked for a cheesecake. He said I could pick, either chocolate or plain, which ever would be easier - I chose plain. Then I asked what he wanted on top, and he said that nothing, just plain, would be fine. Uhhhh...unacceptable. I tempted him with fruits - no, fruit sauce - no, chocolate, caramel and hazelnuts - ok!

Since the cake would have chocolate on top, I decided to go with an Oreo crust. I put about 12 Oreos in a bag and smashed them up.

Then I put the crumbs into the tin and pushed them down. With that, the crust was ready!

Next was the actual cheesecake batter. As always, I used Emeril's recipe, but  halved it. It is always perfect.

I didn't have too much time, as I made the cake in the morning and K wanted to eat it after lunch, but I baked it in a water bath because I wanted it to look pretty. Before pouring the batter in, I covered the bottom and sides of the tin with tin foil and set it in a bigger cake tin. Then I poured the batter in and finally added water to the big tin. The water went about halfway up the cheesecake tin.

While that was baking, I got to work on the toppings. I started with the chocolate sauce. I came across this recipe and it seemed super simple - equal portions of cocoa powder, sugar and water. Put them in a saucepan and turn on the heat while whisking.

Everything starts to dissolve.

Let it simmer for a few minutes and you have your chocolate sauce. Done. I tasted mine and it had a bit of a bitter taste to it. I figured it would be fine since everything else was quite sweet. Next time, I will probably add a tiny bit more sugar. That being said, I did use dark cocoa powder, not the regular kind, so that could have something to do with it as well. Also, as I was pouring it onto the cake, I found it a tad runny. I think I will let it simmer a bit more next time.

With the chocolate sauce ready, next was the caramel. I used my old stand-by. It is so simple; put 130 grams of sugar and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

Swirl it around as it is boiling until it is a tan color. I have had issues in the past by letting it get too dark at this point, so you have to be a little careful. Then add 1/4 cup of heavy cream and whisk it in. Finish it off with some sea salt and a teaspoon of vanilla.

Soon after I had finished that, the cheesecake was done to perfection. I baked it for 60 minutes, turning it with 15 minutes left, and I am pretty sure this is the best it has ever turned out.

While the cake was cooling, I roasted a handful of hazelnuts - 180C (same as the cake) for about 9 minutes. Once they were cooled, I chopped them up.

With that, all of the toppings were done, I just had to wait until the cake was cooled.

Because K was begging to eat it, I didn't end up chilling it for too long and it was a mistake. The top was fine, as were the sides, so I figured it would be okay.

I popped it out of the tin and plated it. I started with the chocolate sauce first and very generously drizzled it over the cake. I used a bit much, but I think this was due to it being a tad runny.

After that was the caramel.

Then I topped that with the hazelnuts.

I decided that a bit more caramel on top of the nuts would be nice, so I did that as well.

Then we cut into it. The very middle was still slightly soft - I really should have made K wait until after dinner before eating. It still was very good, but it was much, much better that evening.

I am pretty sure Y was stoked on it. Lord knows I was! There is still one final piece sitting in the refrigerator and it is taking all my strength to let Y have it when he gets home from work tonight.

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