Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Whiter Shade of Pale Chocolate--White Chocolate Cheesecake

Planning a lunch menu comes easily to me. Some protein, maybe a pasta, sounds like a plan. Dessert is another story. I mull over my choices--chocolate, lemons, eggs. After going through a ton of recipes I settle on cheesecake. But which one should I make? Chocolate, strawberry, mixed berry? Too many choices exist. Finally I settle on a tried-and-tested white chocolate cheesecake. The recipe comes to me from the one I call "Dessert Queen" aka Vinita Poonnen. She has made it on many occasions, the last one being my birthday. A virtuoso in this field, she effortlessly bakes cakes, cobblers and cookies. Her repertoire is enormous and varied. At Christmas time she makes miniature candies nestled in oh-so-darling wrappers. Birthdays come with the requisite white chocolate cheesecakes. I have not yet mentioned her range of Indian sweets. Kheer, payasam, burfi and peda are some of the mouthwatering treats she lovingly feeds me. Let me not forget the mango mousse! 

When I open my dessert folder to the recipe, I see some sticky residue. It must be from the last time I ventured to make this cheesecake. You know how you follow a friend's recipe assiduously and yet you know the end product will not be quite the same? Here goes nothing. I have made it before and I will make it again. And I know it will never be the same as Vini's.

White Chocolate Cheesecake
Makes 10-12 slices

Cocoa Crumb Crust

18 squares Graham crackers
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa powder
7 tablespoons Butter

Lightly butter a round 9 by 3 springform pan.

Melt butter and cool.

Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor till the crumbs are fine. Alternately you could place the graham crackers in a plastic bag  and crush them with a rolling pin. You should have 1 1/4 cups of crumbs.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Combine crumbs, sugar, cocoa powder and melted butter, tossing well with a fork.

Press the mixture into the springform pan, using  a spoon or your fingers. Go up the sides of the pan about an inch.

Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely before adding the filling.

White Chocolate Filling

6 oz. White chocolate, finely chopped.
1/2 cup Cream
1/4 cup Cream
1 pound Cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Melt white chocolate and 1/2 cup cream in a bowl over hot water or in a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Keep aside to cool.

Heat oven to 350F.

Beat the cream cheese and  1/4 cup cream slowly till smooth. Careful, the cream has a tendency to splatter!

Gradually add in the sugar.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract and stir till well blended.

Carefully pour filling into cooled crumb crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before spreading the topping below.

Increase oven temperature to 425F.

Sour Cream Topping

1 1/2 cups Sour cream
1/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Mix the above three items well.

Carefully spread it on top of the cheesecake.

Return cheesecake to the oven and bake for 7 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool for at least an hour.

Run a knife around the pan and release the latch.

Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Like I said , it doesnt quite look like Vini's. The edges look kind of lumpy. But it sure smells like hers! The cheesecake sits in the fridge. Its promise of silken creaminess will entice the one with the not-so-sweet tooth. For the rest of us die hards, it is only a matter of time before we see the base of the springform pan.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to you for even attempting a dish made by "The Queen of Desserts". I clearly remember the battle for the last slice of Vini's white chocolate cheesecake. Yummy!!!!