Oh, February how I love to hate you. As if I don't have enough trouble steering clear of chocolate on a normal basis, you bombard me with delectable chocolatey treats for almost a month...wrapped in pretty pink and red wrappers, with fun hearts adorning them. Sigh. But what you can not tempt with with in the stores, I can make for myself at home instead.
For What's Baking? this month, Sandra, of She Cooks and Bakes, selected the oh-so-appropriate theme of Baking with Valentine's Day Colors. I had a few ideas that ran through my head, but when I came across this Ghirardelli recipe for chocolate raspberry cheesecake, I knew that I had found what will quite possibly be the death of my diet! I absolutely adore chocolate and raspberry together, and cheesecake is one of my very favorite desserts.
I opted to show it in a regular slice as well as a heart-shaped cut-out, for options. I would have liked to have posted this prior to Valentine's Day, but hey...we don't always get what we want do we ;) Put this one on the files for a nice, romantic evening with your honey, or just as a delicious, decadent dessert for yourself or a dinner party. You won't be sorry. Your pants might not fit, and you might eat the whole thing yourself...but you'll be in absolute heaven while you eat yourself silly.
8 oz Ghirardelli 60 % Cacao Bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbl Butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Additional Garnishes (optional)
8oz White chocolate, melted for drizzling
To prepare crust, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the chocolate graham crackers, ground almonds, and sugar and mix until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
To prepare the puree, combine raspberries and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 3-5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds and set aside.
To prepare cheesecake, in a small pot over low heat, bring the whipping cream to just boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and ¾ cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Remove approximately 1 1/2 cup of this batter and place into a smaller bowl and add 1/2 cup raspberry puree. Blend until combined.
Add the melted chocolate to the remaining batter and mix until combined. Pour the chocolate cheesecake batter into the pan. Very carefully layer the raspberry cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until filling is set.
Cool in pan, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold before removing from pan. If desired, top cooled cheesecakes with one or a combination of the garnishes below.
Chocolate Ganache: In a small pot over low heat, bring the heavy cream and butter to just boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. Pour over cold cheesecake to form ganache layer, or drizzle over the cold cheesecake. Refrigerate until it is set. Raspberry Puree: Pour remaining raspberry puree over cold cheesecakes.
White Chocolate: In double boiler over hot water, melt the white chocolate until smooth. Drizzle over cold cheesecakes. Refrigerate until it is set. Fresh raspberries on top or served on the side.
Note: To make the individual heart shape cheesecakes, prepare the recipe as directed using a 13 x9 inch pan instead of a springform pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. After the cheesecake cools, cut out the hearts using a metal heart shaped cookie cutter.