Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Polka-dot cheesecake

I finally got to make this recipe! It took two lots of the yoghurt cheesecake I made earlier, plus a real block of Philly I threw in as some sort of compromise. 

I deviated from Maida’s recipe just long enough to make a normal biscuit base with half a packet of crushed Arnott’s Milk Coffees, 60g melted butter and a tablespoonful of Droste cocoa, mixed and pressed on the base of a 20cm springform tin, and put in the fridge while I got the rest together. I found odd the concept of inverting the cooked cheesecake in order to sprinkle biscuit crumbs on the bottom and then turn back again. I’ll give it a go some other time out of interest.

It’s very cool how it goes together – I expected it to be much more involved. But two cups' worth was simply taken out of the cheesecake mixture and had melted chocolate mixed into it, then the bulk of it went into the springform tin to fill it about halfway.

 That done, the chocolatey portion was poured into a piping bag with the largest nozzle I could find (about 5mm, although Maida suggests a half-inch one), the nozzle inserted just below the surface of the main cheesecake dead centre, and enough squelched in so that a large circle forms on the surface.

Then smaller circles are piped in the same way around the rim – I took heed of Maida’s advice to start out placing them at opposite points to ensure evenness, although I think I’d go closer to the edge next time. It would have been nice to also see the chocolate circles on the sides.

 The surface ends up bulging with the circles, but it evens up during the cooking.

But the keenly anticipated moment was cutting the thing open, not least as it was in the service of The Guitar Teacher's birthday. After the hours of cooling and refrigerating, it still was wobbly enough to make me doubt the neatness of passing a knife through it. I tried some sewing cotton that was handy, which worked a treat, and lifted out the first piece. It didn’t come out without a fuss, leaving a chunk of base behind, but the second slice fared better. I had a hunch it was best left on the springform base.

It came out better than I’d hoped (I wouldn’t have been surprised if the chocolate had melted into the surrounding mixture completely, in which case I would have passed it off as chocolate marble cheesecake or the like) although the polka dots aren’t round enough compared to Maida’s perfection. I have some thoughts about how to get around this next time. Perhaps refrigerating the main bit for a while to firm up might help it keep its integrity better – although equally it could make the chocolate bit have to force its way in and be even more misshapen.

And it tasted pretty good – possibly a little more tart than normal, though I’d have to make a version with all Philly to be sure of that – and the texture was light. All round, I think the use of homemade cream cheese was a winner.

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