Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Cherry chocolate cheesecake

The alternate title of the post might well be Confessions of a Failed Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake.

Before Christmas, I saw this Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake in a supermarket magazine.  I was determined to make it.  Christmas came and went.  Cherries season is often over in a flash.  I decided to make it for a birthday lunch with my family.  It seemed a good opportunity to use up some chocolate ripple biscuits and try the fancy cherry swirl in the photos.  Then I made it gluten free for my sister and failed at the cherry swirl.  At least I got to enjoy some seasonal cherries.

It was quite late in the season so I had to buy Tasmanian cherries.  They were wonderful.  I thought they would make a wonderful pink cheesecake with a gorgeous swirl.  But when I mixed in the cherry puree, I got a light beige colour and the puree sank in the thin cheesecake filling rather than swirling.  It was disappointing.  More fortunate was that I did not have a 20cm springform tin so I used a 22cm tin.  The mixture came to the top of the tin and I wondered how it would have fared in a smaller one.

I started baking it too late and it was finished at midnight.  I had to bake it longer and hotter than the Taste recipe suggested because it was still so wobbly in the middle.  I am not very experienced at cheesecakes and not sure if this was meant to set as it cooled.  But I was taking no chances, even though there was a little singe.  Even cooling the cake seemed a little challenging on a hot summer day when it was a minimum of 22 C.

It was a tired night trying to make the cheesecake.  I tried to pile the dishes in the sink like a poorly performed jenga and then take the dishcloth from under the stack.  I tipped water all over myself.  And Sylvia wanted to be involved in the baking, even though she had had a sleepover the night before and she was too curious to go to bed.  By the time the cake was cooled, I opened the oven door slightly and went to bed. 

The next morning I packed it in the car with frozen bottles of water to keep cool in the heat and drove over an hour to my parents in Geelong.  My mum is more experienced with cheesecakes and recommended sitting the cheesecake on a bowl to separate the springform side from the bottom (as in photo above).

At my parents we had cooling drinks.  I think this drink was ginger beer with berries and mint.  My mum made a Mexican meal to suit everyone included vegetarians and coeliacs.  Then we had a lot of desserts - pavlova, aero mint slice, salted caramel ice cream with churro spiced nuts and my cheesecake with extra cherries.  Lots of desserts because there were lots of birthdays to celebrate in the family once everyone was returned from summer trips.  After dessert, we went to the pool with some nieces and my mum.  It was a lovely swim on a hot day.

When Sylvia tasted the cheesecake mixture she said it tasted like cheese.  It did not seem like high praise.  But when I asked her highlight of the day, she said cheesecake.  Everyone enjoyed the cheesecake.  However it felt like it needed some tweaking.

I was very attracted to the ideal of chocolate and cherries in a cheesecake but this was not what I had in mind.  So my notes for when and if I try again are (some of which I have incorporated into the recipe below):

- I reduced the butter because I used chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a cream filling but it was too dry.  I overcompensated and it was too much butter - I knew because it came out of the cheesecake and the outside of the tin was greasy.  I recommend baking with a tray underneath in case.  150g butter was too much.  I would take this back to 125g.  However, there was too much biscuit base.  Just having it on the bottom, rather than the sides and bottom, would be better.
- The cheesecake did not taste enough of cherries.  My mum suggested putting in whole cherries but I was worried they would sink like the puree did.  I wondered about spreading cherry puree on the cheesecake midway through baking when it would sit on top but am not sure if it would work.  Would bottled morello cherries be more intense or pink?
- I have mused on whether food dye was added to the Taste photo to make it so pink.  The colour was really disappointing.
- I reduced the sugar in the cheesecake filling from 1/2 cup to 1 tbsp.  It wasn't that sweet.  I think I would take it back up to 1/4 cup.
- I really wanted to do chocolate curls rather than little scraps of grated chocolate but this is not my area of expertise either.  And it is not great in hot weather when cherries are in season.

I still feel a novice at cheesecakes and have a lot to learn.  As I don't make them very often, I hope my notes will help next time.

More cheesecakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Baked lemon cheesecake (gf)
Berry ricotta cheesecake (gf)
Caramel chocolate cheesecakes 
Chocolate pumpkin mini cheesecakes (gf)
Vegan peach cheesecake (gf, v) 

Cherry chocolate cheesecake (work in progress)
Adapted from taste.com.au

360g gluten free "oreo" style biscuits
60g chocolate covered rice cakes
150g butter melted, 125g probably enough
250g cherries, halved, pitted
2 tbsp caster sugar
500g cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp caster sugar, extra
3 eggs
180g white chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 cup vanilla-flavoured yoghurt
1/2 cup sour cream
Cherries, extra, to serve
Grated chocolate, to serve

Grease and line a 22cm spring form tin.  Preheat oven to 150 C.

Blend biscuits, rice cakes and melted butter in food processor.  It should clump together when pinched together.  Press into prepared tin.  To line the side of the tin with biscuit crumb, use a straight edged glass to press into the corners and up the sides.  Chill for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Mix cherries, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water in small saucepan.  Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat until sugar has melted and then 5 minutes over high heat until syrupy.  Cool slightly (ie while you make cream cheese mixture) and blend into a puree.

Blend cream cheese and sugar, then add eggs and then melted white chocolate melted, yoghurt and sour cream. Scrape down blender sides when needed.  My liquid was very thin.  Blend in half the cherry puree.  Pour into chilled base and dollop with remaining sauce and swirl through.  (I wanted the swirl to work but the puree sunk to the bottom.)

I baked it 60 minutes at 150 C and then 20 minutes at 170 until the edges started to singe. Cool in oven and then chill.  I cooled mine with the oven door open but maybe should have just cooked it a bit less and cooled it in the oven.

Chill before serving.  To serve, arrange cherries and grated chocolate on top.

On the stereo:
Little Eve: Kate Miller Heidke

5 comments:

  1. It's so disappointing when things don't turn out as you expect them. Seems to happen to me quite a lot! But those cherries on the top make it look super appealing and I like the massive depth it has. It's a bountiful cheesecake and I bet it tasted fabulous. Sylvia obviously thought so, even if she didn't let on at the time.

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  2. Oh wow, this cheesecake looks amazing! No wonder it was the highlight for Sylvia.

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  3. What a shame that it did not turn out as you expected, but visually I must say your cherry cheesecake looks outstanding.

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  4. sound so delicious...yummy...
    have a great day

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