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Food: Chocolate cheesecake with mini eggs

Mini egg chocolate cheesecake (Renee Kohlman)
Mini egg chocolate cheesecake (Renee Kohlman)

Easter buffet tables will be heaped high with honey roasted hams, creamy scalloped potatoes, dilly devilled eggs, and heavenly hot cross buns. But don’t stop there.

Make a show-stopping dessert that will have everyone so glad they came to your house for dinner. Cheesecake is always a favourite, especially when it’s chocolate and covered in more chocolate, but there are a few things to make note of before baking the classic dessert.

First off, this is no time to use low fat cream cheese. Go for the full fat, or don’t bother at all. Be sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before beginning to bake. If it’s too cold and firm, the texture won’t be smooth and creamy, which is what we want for our cheesecake.

The eggs should also be at room temperature, and in this recipe for chocolate cheesecake, the melted chocolate should be just a little warm when you dip your finger into it, then immediately lick it off.

People often get freaked out when their cheesecake develops cracks. This isn’t the end of the world but a few tips can ensure a smooth, crack-free surface. Consider baking the cheesecake in a water bath. The steamy environment inside the oven helps to cook the cheesecake gently, and the extra moisture means the surface won’t dry out and crack. After baking, a gradual cooling process also helps keep the cake from cracking.

I know it sounds like a diva dessert, but cheesecake is one of the best desserts to make ahead, even a few days before you want to eat it. And if the cake does get a few cracks, don’t fret. Just whip some cream and spread it over top. No one will know once it’s covered in Mini Eggs! And, those pretty pastel candies are ever so addictive — just be sure to save some for the top of the cake.

Chocolate Cheesecake with Mini Eggs

Everyone’s favourite Easter candy garnishes a decadently delicious chocolate cheesecake. The cheesecake can be prepared a day or two before serving.

1 3/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

4 packages (8 oz each) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

8 oz chopped dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa) melted and cooled slightly

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

10oz package mini eggs, slightly crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for a minute until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. When confident there are no lumps, beat in the melted chocolate and flour until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Wrap the springform pan with foil so it covers the sides. Scrape the cream cheese mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Set the cheesecake into a roasting pan or a large baking dish and pour in a few inches of water. Bake for 50-55 minutes. The middle should still jiggle a little, but the sides about two inches from the edge should be raised and feel slightly firm.

5. When the cheesecake is baked, turn the oven off, crack the oven door open, and let it rest inside the oven for an hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully take it out of the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack, placed on top of the oven. This slow cooling process will help alleviate cracks. Also, run a sharp blade around the edge of the cheesecake so it doesn’t stick to the pan. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, remove the foil and refrigerate the cheesecake uncovered overnight.

6. When ready to serve, combine the whipping cream, cocoa, and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until firm peaks form. Remove the sides of the springform pan and carefully slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Spoon the chocolate whipped cream onto the top of the cheesecake and smooth the top. Top with mini eggs and serve. Be sure to run a sharp knife under hot water before each slice. Wipe the blade dry and cut the cheesecake. Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days. Makes 10-12 servings.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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