Friday, July 8, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Cheesecake

White chocolate raspberry cheesecake
Have you ever had a dish or a dinner that was so amazing that the taste and look of it stays with you for years. I have had many of them. My food memories start when I was in the 3rd grade and my family lived in Sarina, Canada. I still can taste the french fries sprayed with vinegar that we bought under the bridge. They were lovely.
One of the desserts that seems to haunt my memories is a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I can still taste the dark chocolate crust, the thin layer of raspberry preserves, and the white chocolate creaminess of the cheesecake. It was brilliant.
For my husband's birthday party, I started the journey to cheesecake nirvana by making a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. It was good; not great. So for his birthday (his birthday party was the weekend before his birthday).  I decided to attempt the Super Cheesecake. Did I succeed? Yes, I made the cheesecake of my dreams.

The Crust

16 (180 g) Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Oreo Cookies)
6 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter, Melted
1/4 Cup (90 g) of Raspberry Preserves

Grease a 10 inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 315F/160 C/Gas Mark 3. Put the Oreo cookies into a food processor with the metal blade and process until they are crumbs.
Oreo cookies ready to be blended
Slowly add the butter to the cookie crumbs until well combined.
Adding butter
Place the crumbs down evenly onto the pan. Heat the raspberry preserves in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds. (Heating the preserves makes them so much easier to spread. I use this trick for filling cookies as well). Spread the raspberry preserves over the cookie crust.
A thin layer of raspberry preserves
The Filling
12 Oz. (340 g) of White Chocolate
3 (8 oz/ 227 g)  of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1/2 Cup ( 113 g) of Sugar
3 Large Eggs, Room Temperature

Carefully heat the white chocolate slowly over low heat in a double boiler. (It is easy to scorch white chocolate). Heat, stirring frequently until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Melted white chocolate
Remove from the heat and let the chocolate cool slightly.
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Next add the eggs one at a time and mix each egg into the cream cheese until well combined. Scrape the bowl as necessary (with my mixer I need to do this frequently). Once the eggs are added, add the white chocolate. Once again, scrape the bowl as needed. Mix until the white chocolate is combined and the cream cheese filling is smooth.
White chocolate combined with the cream cheese mixture
Pour into the springform pan and smooth the top.
The cheesecake is ready for the oven
Place aluminum foil around the springform pan (so water will not get into the pan with the cheesecake) and place on a large cookie sheet with sides and place in the oven. Pour hot water around the cheesecake and close the oven. (I add the water after placing the pan in the oven so there is less chance that I will spill the water everywhere).  Check after 30 minutes to determine if more water is needed in the cookie sheet. Bake for approximately one hour (the filling should seem set when the pan is jiggled). Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled (at least 4 hours).
Cooling cheesecake
Fresh Raspberries
2 Oz (57 g) of Good Quality Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/2 Tsp of Canola Oil

Place the raspberries around the side of the cheesecake.
Fresh raspberries on the cheesecake
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave and allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Add the oil to the chocolate and stir. Place the chocolate in a plastic bag and force the chocolate into one corner. Snip the corner of the bag (make a TINY hole) and push the chocolate through the bag to decorate the cheesecake. I practice on wax paper first just to be sure I will get it right. I added the number 40 to the swirls of chocolate.
Adding chocolate swirls to the cheesecake
The bottom line: Will I make this again? Yes! It is the best cheesecake ever. I loved it. Steven loved it. Katie loved it. I don't think that I will change a thing. I thought long and hard about adding a raspberry swirl to the cheesecake but I really liked the pure lusciousness of the white chocolate cream cheese.
A slice of the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake ready to be devoured

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