While a basic cheesecake, well-made, is a delight to the senses, when you add chocolate and amaretto it becomes every chocolate lover’s dream. The almond liqueur enhances the chocolate flavor like no amount of pure vanilla extract. The texture is smooth and creamy like a soufflé so you want to let it linger on your palate for a while and sip a fine cup of espresso in between bites.
Start the day before and make your own crème fraiche. To 2 cups of heavy cream add 3 Tbsp of buttermilk, cover lightly and let set for 24 hours at room temperature. You now have fabulous sour cream at half the cost of commercial brands and without preservatives. Refrigerate until needed. Use unsweetened crème fraiche on potatoes, omelets, and on everything else you’d normally use sour cream.
To make sweetened crème fraiche, start with a cold bowl and cold beaters or a whisk. Pour 1 cup of your homemade crème fraiche into the cold bowl, add 2 tsp of sugar, or to taste, and whip or whisk until soft peaks form. It’s now ready to use on your favorite dessert. Try it on fruit clauflouti, puddings, crumbles, strawberry shortcake and this Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake.
Ingredients for 9-inch Cake:
· 20-22 Oreo cookies, about 1 ½ cups crushed
· 1/3 cup butter, melted
· 1 lb. cream cheese, (2 (8 oz.) pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese) softened
· 1 (14 oz.) can Borden’s Sweetened Condensed Milk
· 4 whole eggs
· 3 oz. Amaretto liqueur
· 4 oz. chocolate chips, melted (use a brand with 60% cocoa)
· Whole berries for garnish
· 1 cup homemade sweetened crème fraiche
· 1 oz chocolate chips, melted for chocolate comb
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form cake pan. Line the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper.
2. Combine Oreo cookie crumbs with melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared cake pan and up the sides ½-inch. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
3. Combine cream cheese with condensed milk in a mixer until smooth.
4. At low speed, add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add Amaretto and melted chocolate and mix just until uniformly distributed, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. (Avoid beating air into the batter by using a low speed setting.)
5. Pour into prepared crust. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes in center of oven. The top should look slightly dry with the center a little more wet and giggly when moved. Turn off oven and leave cake to cool in the oven for one hour. Take care not to over bake or the cake will be dry and heavy. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
6. Drizzle melted chocolate onto a piece of kitchen parchment paper in a tic-tac-toe design or a Spanish comb design, chill until serving time, then carefully remove each design from the parchment paper.
7. Remove spring-form from cake. Peel off parchment paper. Slice using a thin knife dipped in warm water. Top with sweetened crème fraiche and set the chocolate comb upright in the crème fraiche. Garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs.
- To make individual cheesecakes, butter mini spring-form pans or ramekins. Line the ramekins with 2 strips of parchment paper 2-3 inches wide and long enough to extend over the rim of the ramekin at least 2 inches on each end. Crisscross the centers of the strips at the center of the bottom of the ramekins, bringing the ends of the strips up and over the sides. This will make removal of the cakes easier.
- Bake individual ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes.