Baked this cheesecake at the end of an eventful and exhausting week. Had coffee in a mug every morning just to wake myself up after 6-hour sleep. Stayed in the lab 1/3 of my day time of the whole week and nothing seems to go anywhere. And yet after I finally got motivated again on the last day of work, I made a terrible, terrible mistake such that the aim of the experiment had to change because of that. After being told that I've screwed up the whole experiment, I just couldn't hold on any more. Rushed to the bathroom and cried for 10 minutes.
It's amazing how everything can go wrong at the same time, and how much can one take before he/she finally breaks down. It is at this time that I really needed something to hold on to, something to comfort me, something to make me feel better. I then chose to bake this cheesecake, from a recipe I got a while ago at Epicurious. I fell in love with that cheesecake on the picture the first time I saw it. Very exquisite yet extremely decadent. What more can a gal ask for.
The conversion of the ingredients was a pain. Because I don't have a 10-inch springform pan, I had to convert everything into 2/3 of the amount to suit my 22cm (8.5 inch) cake tin. This might contribute to the extremely rich taste ("too sweet that I have to stop to take a break", said the boyfriend) in the end. Or maybe I should've left it for a whole day to let the flavours blend, according to the repcipe. But if you are a true sweet tooth, then the combination of the sweetness and the bitterness is just right. Otherwise go grab yourself a cup of cold milk to have the cheesecake with.
250g chocolate wafer cookies
120 g bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I omitted this one)
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (can be omitted if you don't want it too sweet)
Pinch ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter
1 cup whipping cream
400g bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/6 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
625 g cream cheese, room temperature
1 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (I used Kahlúa)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
1 1/2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Espresso coffee beans (optional)
Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in processor.
Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute.
Transfer crumbs to 22cm springform pan.
Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.
Bring whipping cream to simmer in large saucepan.
Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa.
Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth.
Pour enough ganache just to the bottom of crust.
Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.
Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for creating lattice pattern.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 185 C.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended.
Beat in flour.
Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture.
Beat in eggs 1 at a time, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
Pour filling over cold ganache in crust.
Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and center 2 inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes.
Transfer cheesecake to rack.
Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly).
Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend.
Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely.
Bake until topping is set, about 10 minutes.
Transfer cheesecake to rack.
Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about 3 hours.
Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides.
Transfer cheesecake to platter.
Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip.
Pipe diagonal lines atop cheesecake.
Repeat in opposite direction, making lattice.
Pipe rosettes of ganache around top edge of cake.
Garnish with coffee beans, if desired.
Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.
(Can be made 4 days ahead. Wrap loosely in foil, forming dome over lattice; keep chilled.)
Makes 12 servings.