Friday, January 30, 2009

Fudge Truffle Cheesecake


1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 5 1/3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped (1/3 cup)
powdered sugar
cocoa powder

Make the chocolate crust:
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325. Remove the sides from a 10x3 inch springform pan. Trim a 10 inch cardboard cake circle so that it fits snugly with the curved lip of the bottom of the springform pan. Cover the circle with a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang all around the edge. Carefull attach the side of the pan so you do not tear the foil. Wrap the foil overhang halfway up the outside of hte pan. (Lining the bottom of the pan in this way will give the cheesecake an even flat base, making it easy to remove from teh pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter, stirring until well combined. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the ganache and filling.

Make the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small pan over med heat, bring the 2 cups of cream to a gentle boil. You may also use the microwave for this. Pour the got cream over the chocolate and allow the mixture to stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of the ganache for the cake filling and set aside. Measure out 1 cup of the ganache for the truffles, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to pipe. Cover the remaining ganache and set aside at room temperature.

Make the filling:
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the cream and the vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese on low speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar in a steady stream and beat at medium speed until blended. At low speed, one at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in teh reserved 2 cups of ganache. Beat in teh cornstarch mixture. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and, using a rubber spatula, smooth the top.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the center is set. (There will probably be cracks in teh top of the cheesecake; they will shrink as the cheesecake cools and then will be covered with frosting.) Turn off the oven. Prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour.

Set the cheesecake in the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

Make the truffles:
Transfer the chilled 1 cup of ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe 16, 1 inch mounds with pointed peaks onto a clean baking sheet or use a spoon to make mounds. Refrigerate or freeze the truffles for 15-20 minutes, or just until firm enough to roll.

Sift a light dusting of powdered sugar over the truffles. Lightly coat your palms and fignertips with powdered sugar. With your fignertips, pinch a truffle in a round. Then roll it gently between your palms in a round ball. Place the truffle on the baking sheet, and form the remaining truffles into rounds. Refrigerate or freeze for about 10 minutes, just until firm.

Roll the truffles in sifted cocoa powder to coat. Refrigerate.

Decorate the cheesecake:
Run a thin bladed knife around the edge of teh cake to loosen it from the side of the pan. Remove the side of the pan. Slide two metal cake spatulas under the cheesecake and transfer it to a serving platter.

Using a metal cake spatula, spread the reserved room temperature chocolate ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cheesecake. Place the chocolate truffles around the outside edge of the top of teh cake, and spacing them evenly.

Melt the white chocolate over double boiler or low heat. Using a fork, drizzle the warm white chocolate ina decorative zigzag patern over the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours or overnight, before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. While cutting the cake, dip the blade of the knife in hot water and wipe dry after each slice.

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