Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Mint Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache.
Honestly, this was supposed to be just a basic mint cheesecake. No chocolate to compete for the taster's attention.
But if you want to mention what it was originally going to be....
I love Shamrock Shakes. I grew up eating (drinking?) them every year as soon as they came out. I ate a lot. I lived next door to McDonald's, so as soon as I had someone old enough (like.. eight) we'd walk over and buy some. Yes. An eight-year-old friend and I (who was five) were allowed to walk over to McDonald's by ourselves. I'm still alive obviously. Don't get too upset. Anyway. These days, I can not find Shamrock Shakes anywhere. Maybe it's because I had so many when I was young (seriously.. each time they came out, I had maybe five) so I don't get the pleasure of any now.
But St. Patrick's Day was coming up. And I lied. Way back in July I said I would never get celebratory about any holiday except for Halloween. Well. Green is my favourite colour. And Ireland is intriguing. So I fancy St. Patrick's Day as well. But I digress. A lot. So I decided I needed something minty to take the place of the Shamrock Shake. I thought of making mint 'n' chip ice cream, which I have made before. But I didn't feel like making ice cream. I had been wanting to make cheesecake, so I decided upon mint cheesecake. Why not? I like cheesecake. I like mint. And I can dye it green. Perfect. I also have a four-ounce bottle of peppermint extract that I need to use. Why such a big bottle? It's the only one we could find. I love how the bottle looks, though. It's pretty.
So I set about getting the bits I needed for the cheesecake. I didn't want to do a full cheesecake recipe, so I decided to do half. But then I didn't want to do half. But I didn't want to do a full one. So I settled on three-quarters of the recipe.
Sunday night, I set about making the cheesecake. I also decided upon an Oreo cookie crust. Just so you know. Anyway. I got everything mixed up, then I tasted the batter. It was... minty. Yes. Obviously it was minty. I was making a mint cheesecake. But it was... weird. I started having doubts. Everyone else I mentioned the cheesecake to voiced their doubts immediately. But I was convinced it had to be good. Even though my searches for a mint cheesecake recipe proved futile. (I had already figured I'd use my basic recipe, but use peppermint in place of vanilla. But I still wanted to see what else was out there.) I figured I found out why there are no mint cheesecake recipes. But I pressed on. I was going to bake it anyway. But I tasted the batter again. It was still... odd. So I added in a quarter teaspoon of vanilla. There. It wasn't so.. caustic. Though caustic is a bit too harsh. But the vanilla seemed to help.. smooth out the flavour.
I also overbaked it a bit. It didn't crack or anything. I just like to remove my cheesecakes when the centre is still a bit wet. It -will- set up as it sits. When I checked on it after one hour, I could make it jiggle, but it was not wet at all. I took it out. It's still good. Just letting you know, if you want it wet in the centre, cook it less.
Oh. And I never use a water bath. Too much hassle. I'd have to go out to the garage, find the roasting pan, wipe off the spider webs, hope I'm not bringing some monster spider in the house with it, or anything else. Yeah. I'll do that for a roasted chicken. Cheesecake? No.
Since I found the flavour to be... odd... I decided to make a chocolate ganache to put on top. Which ganache to do? The ganache from the December Daring Baker's. It was a nifty ganache. I'm going to use it as a frosting to vanilla cupcakes one day. I just need to find a vanilla cake recipe that isn't so dry. You should know that I ramble.
After the cheesecake cooled a bit, I topped it with the ganache and then put it in the fridge. It makes a fudgy chocolate layer on top.
The next day, I cut a slice. I tried just the cheesecake without the ganache layer. It was... odd. But with the ganache? 'Twas a minty, chocolatey, cheesecakey mouthgasm. Now I have to eat a whole cheesecake. By myself. Come help. Please? Really. My sisters don't like cheesecake. And my mom and dad keep saying, "I'll try it" just to humour me. I know they don't want to taste it.
Mint Cheesecake With Chocolate Ganache.
Oreo Crumb Crust:
2 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs ('twas about 30 normal Oreos for me. Creme and all.)
1/4 cup (half a stick) melted salted butter (I always use salted butter.)
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (I actually use two packages cream cheese and one package neufchatel.. which could have result in the quicker cooking? Three normal cream cheese should work fine, though)
3/4 cup sugar
2 T 3/4 t flour
1 egg, beaten, 1 T of egg removed and discarded*
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 t peppermint extract
1/4 t vanilla extract
green food colouring, optional
67 g sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream, warm
180 g semisweet chocolate
60 g salted butter, room temperature
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix Oreo Crumbs with melted butter. Add more melted butter if you need it. I was prepared to. But my crust worked with just half a stick. Press onto bottom and one inch up the sides of an 8.5 inch springform pan. An eight-inch pan works. And so does a nine-inch if those are what you have. I just opted for my smallest pan which happens to be that. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and flour. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping well after each addition. You'll beat in the beaten egg here, too. Just so you know. Beat in the heavy cream, peppermint, and vanilla. Mix in green food colouring if you fancy to whatever colour you fancy. I used gel paste because my sister used up all the liquid colourings. I went for a mint green.
Oh. And while you're mixing up the cheesecake batter, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Or a pot. Or whatever you use to boil water. Place the cheesecake in the oven on the centre rack. On the rack below the cheesecake, place a 13 x 9 inch pan and fill two-thirds full of water. Or some other such pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 250ºF and bake for 45-60 minutes. You want the cheesecake to be set at the edges, but still a bit wet and wobbly in the centre. I went straight for sixty minutes and it was wobbly-ish, but not wet. Though it was not too far gone. So you can probably go for that long. I just suggested forty-five minutes so you don't get mad at me if 60 minutes results in too overbaked of a cheesecake for you. My own little disclaimer.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the cheesecake is cool, put together the ganache.
Place the sugar in a small or medium saucepan. Try to get it into as smooth a layer as you can. Melt it over medium to medium low heat. Refrain from stirring. I know you want to, but you'll just create lumps that refuse to melt. What you want to do is let the sugar sit. You see the edges starting to melt and turn clear? Keep waiting. If one side of the pan is melting, and the other side isn't, then move the pan over so the other side melts, too. Refrain from stirring. Keep letting it melt. You see it traveling further in? You see the edges starting to turn a light golden? Keep waiting. When the edges are golden and the still-crystalline sugar easily floats on a pool of melted sugar and when you tilt the pan it moves with the waves of molten sugar and the melted sugar is a golden brown? -Then- you can stir. The sugar should easily melt into the rest. If it just creates lumps, you didn't wait long enough. Yes. I realise my run-on question thing repeats and changes and is an incredibly odd question. It got your attention didn't it?
Once the ugar is melted and caramelised, turn off the heat and pour in the cream. If the sugar solidifies, turn the stove back on and stir until the sugar melts back into the cream. Pour the hot mixtur over the chocolate and allow it to melt, then stir it together. Mix in the softened butter. Spread the ganache on the cheesecake.
Refrigerate four hours or overnight. Or however long you can wait until it's cold.
It makes me think of an Andes mint. The colouring. The flavour is different, though. But still good.
*The original recipe calls for five eggs. So I did three-quarters. Each quarter recipe would use one and a quarter eggs. One egg is about a quarter cup. A quarter cup is four tablespoon. So logically, three-quarters of the recipe would be three eggs and three tablespoons. That is why I beat the fourth egg and removed one tablespoon of beaten egg. I know I could have simply used four eggs, but I fear things being too eggy. So I removed the extra tablespoon.