Posted on Friday, 25th May 2012 by Grace Massa Langlois
My daughter, Liana, asked if I could prepare a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for a get together she was attending this week. The request came after what was to have been a quick stop at Costco for a few things and I emphasize a few things, vanilla beans, meat and juice. I don’t know about you but I can never leave Costco without a full shopping cart. And somehow we were able to fill two on this trip. To my dismay we left Costco without my coveted vanilla beans and I was told they were no longer going to stock them. Having only one lonely bean left, panic set in. I found myself racing to the other location the very next morning to help myself to their very last 15 packages.
Sometimes I wonder if Costco enjoys torturing their clients? They stock a product for a while and then it’s gone. On the one hand, it’s a benefit because it forces you to try new products but on the other hand, if you’re anything like me, you have your favourites (like my vanilla beans) and veering away from them is difficult. I was trying to calculate in my head how long I could cruise on the 15 packages I purchased. If I can limit myself to three vanilla beans (good luck) a week it may be just shy of a year before I’ll have to find a new supplier.
I love the taste of vanilla! And for most desserts like in the case of this cheesecake, I prefer to use the seeds to extract or paste to flavour the cheesecake filling and usually the whipped cream topping too. Unfortunately when I prepared this cheesecake I only had the one vanilla bean left. The filling won out. It’s an expensive indulgence but it’s one I treat myself to without any guilt. I think the taste is exceptional but I also find a dessert dotted with vanilla seeds tempting and beautiful, don’t you?
I’ve been reading a new book, Bake Wise by Shirley Corriher. I purchased the book after reading a review that Todd, White on Rice Couple (one of my very favourites sites to visit) wrote in one of their posts. Todd highly recommended Shirley’s book especially if you’re interested in the science of baking (which I am). In the book Shirley discusses the benefits of adding whipped heavy cream to cake batters. Apparently the whipped cream introduces softness and moistness to the cake (cant wait to try this).
This peaked my curiosity; I wondered how heavy cream would affect the texture of cheesecake. Although I didn’t whip the cream before adding it to the batter, the mere addition of the cream added to the richness of the cream cheese filling but it also affected the texture in a wonderful way, it was especially smooth. In fact, the texture had me wanting more. It’s a great alternative to sour cream especially if you’re not partial to the tang that sour cream provides.
So how did a trip to Costco turn into Liana craving chocolate chip cheesecake? Well, you know the clever tasting stations Costco sets up at the end of each aisle to tempt you into buying all of their goodies, well, one was a cheesecake tasting station. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and Mango Cheesecake. Liana’s craving was fulfilled but so was mine – two cheesecakes in one week. I’ll share the Mango Cheesecake recipe with you next week. I received inspiration from a Master Chef episode and served the Mango Cheesecake with a fruit salad.
Great news! I received the first copy of my new cookbook last week. I wish I could put into words all the emotions I experienced when I tore open the box and saw it staring up at me. What a rush! If you’re interested in purchasing the book the official release date is May 28 but if you purchase the book on or before May 27 the discounted, pre-order rate applies.
Before I sign off for the weekend I wanted to share an invaluable tip for easily removing cheesecake from the base of the springform pan (something I usually do religiously but forgot this time). Unlatch the springform pan, remove the sides, flip the base over so that the lip is facing down (the lip makes it difficult to remove the cheesecake from the base), line the base with a sheet of non-stick baking paper (leaving a border), reattach the sides of the pan. Using this technique makes it easy to slide the baked cheesecake off the paper and onto a cake plate or cake stand. Find more Cheesecake Tips in my Amaretto Cheesecake with Amaretto Caramel Sauce post.
Vanilla Bean-Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Cookie Crust
Makes 1 23-cm by 6-cm (9-inch by 2½-inch) cheesecake
- Oreo Cookie Crust
- Vanilla Bean-Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Filling
- Stabilized Whipped Cream Topping
Oreo Cookie Crust
Please note, I prepared this crust using Oreo cookie crumbs and it’s not necessary to sweeten the cookie crumb mixture. Oreo cookies make a good substitution but chocolate wafer cookies are also a good option. If using chocolate wafers I recommend sweetening the cookie crumb by mixing in a couple of tablespoons of sugar before adding the melted butter.
- 170 g (1¾ + 2 tablespoons) Oreo cookie crumbs (or chocolate wafers)
- 57 g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). For easy cheesecake removal, unlatch the sides of a springform pan with a removable bottom. Cut a sheet of non-stick baking paper into a 30-cm (12-inch) square. Turn the base of the pan over. Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper on the base of the pan making sure the lip is facing down. Reattach the sides of the pan and set-aside. (I do this religiously and forgot this time, removing the cheesecake form the base proved to be difficult.)
- In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Transfer the cookie crumb to the pan and press the cookie mixture evenly onto the base of the pan.
- Bake in preheated oven, 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer crust to a wire rack allowing the crust to cool completely before filling.
Vanilla Bean-Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Filling
- 750 g (26 ounces or 3 bricks) cream cheese (preferably Philadelphia Cream Cheese), room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded (reserve pod for another use)
- 225 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 120 ml (½ cup) heavy cream (whipping – 35%)
- 24 g (3 tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 300 g (1¼ cup) good quality semisweet chocolate chips, divided, plus extra for decorating if desired
- Preheat oven to 160° C (325° F). Bring a teakettle of water almost to a boil. Prepare springform pan for water bath (bain marie), cut heavy-duty aluminum foil into three 40-cm (16-inch) squares. Layer aluminum squares on a flat work surface, place the cooled springform pan in centre of square; wrap foil tightly around and up the sides of the pan. Place wrapped springform pan into a deep roasting pan large enough to comfortably fit the size of the springform pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed, scraping down sides, paddle attachment and bottom of bowl a couple of times, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the vanilla seeds and gradually add the sugar; beat until smooth, scraping down sides, paddle and bottom of bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs one at-a-time, beating to just combine after each addition (about 30 seconds-do not over mix), scraping sides and bottom of bowl after each addition.
- Beat in the heavy cream at low speed just until combined.
- Reserve 60 g (¼ cup) chocolate chips. In a small bowl, toss the remaining (240 g or 1 cup) chocolate chips in flour (making sure chips are evenly coated).
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. For best results and to ensure a lump-free batter, strain the filling through a fine mesh sieve into a large, wide-mouthed pourable container (or medium bowl).
- Using large, flexible rubber spatula fold the chocolate chip-flour mixture into the filling making sure it’s combined well.
- Pour about 5-cm (2-inch) of cheesecake filling over the prepared cookie crust and sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips over the filling. Pour the remaining filling over the chips. Tap the springform pan gently on the counter to allow any air bubbles that may have formed to dissipate and transfer back to the prepared roasting pan.
- Pull out the middle oven rack slightly (just enough to comfortably fill the roasting pan with water); place roasting pan on rack. Carefully pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan filling about halfway up the side of the springform pan (do this step very carefully because you don’t want any water to get into the filling). Carefully push the roasting pan into the centre of the oven rack and then ever so carefully push the oven rack back into the oven (again, very carefully because you do not want any water in the filling).
- Bake until set around the edges and the centre of the cheesecake slightly jiggles (cheesecake will continue to set when cooling) when springform pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Carefully pull out oven rack and remove roasting pan from oven and transfer to heatproof surface. Carefully remove springform pan and transfer to wire rack. Remove aluminum foil and allow cheesecake to cool completely away from drafts on wire rack. Transfer cheesecake in springform pan uncovered or loosely covered to refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or up to 2 days. (For best taste and texture, allow cheesecake to chill for 2 days – very difficult I know but definitely worth the wait!)
Stabilized Whipped Cream Topping
For a stabilized Chantilly Cream, combine cream and seeds from 1 vanilla bean in an airtight container. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before whipping allowing the lovely vanilla to infuse into the cream.
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) cold water
- 1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatine
- 360 ml (1½ cups) heavy cream (or whipping cream), 35%
- 24 g (3 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place bowl of stand mixer and whip attachment in the freezer to chill, 15 minutes.
- Place two tablespoons cold water into a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatine; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over low heat, and stir until the gelatin is dissolved; remove from heat and allow gelatine mixture to cool.
- Remove bowl and whip attachment from the freezer and attach to mixer. Beat the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until almost a soft peak.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. With mixer running, pour the gelatine through a fine mesh sieve onto the cream. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue to beat until soft peaks form (do not over mix).
- Stabilized whipped cream topping
- Chocolate chips, optional, to decorate
- Remove cheesecake from refrigerator. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Unlatch springform pan. Using an offset spatula, carefully transfer cheesecake to cake plan or cake stand. (Cheesecake should easily slide off baking paper.)
- To decorate cheesecake, spoon whipped topping onto cheesecake and using an offset spatula, spread evenly to edges. Use the back of a spoon to create short peaks.
- Sprinkle with chocolate chips (if using).
- To serve, slice cheesecake when cold and transfer to dessert plates. Allow cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving (much easier to slice when cold but for best flavour, serve at room temperature).
- Buon Appetito!
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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes