Saturday, January 01, 2005

bittersweet chocolate orange cheesecake

something sweet and rich, for a sweet and rich 2005!
i've loved the combination of chocolate and orange for as long as i can remember. i think it was a Filipino chocolate bar from long ago that first transported me and my taste buds. this elegant recipe is from one published in the Boston Globe Food Section approximately 14 years ago...

first make the crust:
1/4 cup slightly toasted chopped almonds
2 tbsps. granulated sugar
3 tbsps. grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

encase the outside of a 9-in springform pan in 2 layers of heavy-duty foil (to prevent water seepage as the cheesecake bakes in a "hot water bath").
mix all the above ingredients well and press into the bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides of springform pan. i used my brand new tartlet press from a cherished friend in Great Britain ;)
-it made the crust beautifully even and ready to accept the creamy filling. refrigerate crust while you make the filling.

preheat oven to 375F.
combine, in order, blending well(i used my stick blender, but a food processor or mixer works just as well):
2 8-oz. packages of room temperature cream cheese,
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
2 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

pour filling into prepared pan and place into a larger pan/ovenproof dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides of springform pan. bake for about 25-30 minutes, and remove from hot water bath to a rack to cool.

prepare topping:
strain 3 tbsps. of orange marmalade through a sieve into a small sauce pan.
add 1 tbsp. of orange juice and heat gently just enough to melt the marmalade.
remove from heat and add 1 cup of sour cream.
pour over the top of cheesecake. refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving, or over night for the flavors to develop.

using the tip of a sharp thin knife, release cake from the pan by sliding knife all around the edge in a smooth sweep--and unlock the pan(to prevent cracking).
garnish with curls or grated shavings from a chocolate bar...