Friday, April 20, 2012

Brownie Caramel Cheesecake

A truly decadent, rich cheesecake to satisfy the sweet tooth of any guest. You'll need a 20cm x 28cm tart pan with removable base. Alternatively, use a slice pan. Allow an extra 3 hours to chill the cheesecake.
Ingredients (serves 8)
150g unsalted butter, chopped
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
120g (3/4 cup) Brazil nuts, roasted, roughly chopped
Chocolate pearls, to serve (optional, see Notes)  

Chocolate cheesecake filling
200g Green & Black’s Maya Gold Dark Chocolate, chopped (see Notes)
250g full-fat cream cheese, softened
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
250g mascarpone  

75g unsalted butter, chopped
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
100ml thickened cream  

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease tart pan and line base with baking paper. For slice pan, line the base and short sides with a doubled sheet of baking paper, extending 4cm beyond rim.
2. To make brownie base, place butter and chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir until melted and combined. Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt, then remove from heat. Whisk in sugar until combined, then add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition until just combined. Whisk in flour until just combined. Spoon into pan, level and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool brownie in the pan on a wire rack.
3. Increase oven to 180C. Meanwhile, to make filling, place chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (make sure bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir until melted. Cool slightly. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on low speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Beat in chocolate until combined, then mascarpone. Spoon filling over brownie layer. Tap pan gently on a work surface, then level; it will reach flush with the top of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 150C and bake for a further 10 minutes or until edges are set and centre moves only slightly when pan is shaken. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled.
4. To make caramel, place butter and sugar in a heavy-based pan and stir continuously over medium heat for 8 minutes or until a dark caramel (it will look oily, but it will come together once you add cream). Stirring continuously, add cream (be careful as it will spit), then remove from the heat and cool.
5. Transfer cake to a platter. Spoon over caramel, then scatter with Brazil nuts and chocolate pearls, if using.   

• Valrhona chocolate pearls are tiny biscuit balls coated in dark chocolate. From selected delis. Substitute grated dark chocolate. 
• Green and Black's Maya Gold dark chocolate, from selected supermarkets, is infused with orange and spices. Substitute dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids) with 1 tsp mandarin zest and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

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