This week has been an achievement, to say the least. I’ve successfully filled out my student visa application, inched closer toward finding an apartment in Chicago, cooked a vegan meal with my friend, started & finished Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey, and made progress on meditation durations (YAY!).
My mum asked me to bake something for her dinner party and of course i did, but not without the usual ritual of drama that somehow always always makes its way when I’m baking for a special occasion. I decided to make my chocolate cheesecake (a slight variation from the Nutella cheesecake I made on Instagram story a few weeks ago) because it is quick and easy to make and everyone always loves it. But right after it finished cooking on the rack, I was carrying it to the fridge to put it in to set and it fell (!!) - literally slipped off my hands and shattered on the floor, crumbling into a disgusting chocolaty mess.
Sigh. It happens. Eggs curdle, caramel burns, things that are supposed to emulsify don’t - i could go on. It always feels awful - every time! But the worst kitchen disasters are the ones when everything falls apart (in this case, literally) at the last moment.
The good news though , is that I managed to make it all over again. I felt like a contestant on Masterchef, competing against the clock to get it done on time and it was delicious. Try making it, and brownie points (cheesecake points?) if you don’t drop it!
200 g crushed oreo
50 g unsalted butter, cold and chopped
One jar Nutella (290 g)
120 g chocolate, finely chopped
2 packets Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
300 ml cream
Pinch of sea salt
Line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 180 ˚ C.
Remove the cream filling from all the oreo cookies and set the biscuit part aside. If it breaks in the process, don’t worry. You're going to crush it anyway. .
Next, blitz all the oreo cookies in a food processor or Vitamix. If you don’t have this, then you can simply crush the biscuits manually. Put them in a plastic ziplock bag and run a rolling pin over it a few times until completely crushed. You should have 200 g crushed oreo.
Using clean hands, mix the crushed biscuit and the butter until fully combined and crumbly.
Lay the buttery biscuit mix in the springform pan and press it down using a spatula or back of a spoon. It should form a tightly packed base.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180 ˚ C
When done, let it cool on the counter.
Meanwhile, blitz the cream cheese (all of it) for about 1 minute in an electric mixer. It will be fluffy.
Add the sugar and mix again.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix.
Add the vanilla essence and then the Nutella. Mix until well combined. It will be a faint brownish colour.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave and add the melted chocolate into the mixture.* Add sea salt.
Lastly, add the cream and blitz until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix because it will incorporate too much air into the batter which will later create cracks on the surface of the cheesecake.*
Fill the oven tray with water (upto 1/2 - 3/4th of the tray).
Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and wrap the pan tightly with aluminium foil.*
Bake for about 60 minutes. When it’s done it will be only slightly wobbly on the top and should have small cracks on the sides of the surface.
Let it cool on the counter for about an hour, then transfer to the fridge for it to set (about 4 - 5 hours or overnight)
Decorate with hazelnuts, strawberries, pecans, cherries, whatever you want!
Slice and eat!
When melting chocolate in the microwave, melt in short spurts of 30s and stir well between each. If you leave the bowl of chocolate in the microwave to melt for a few minutes without stopping to stir, the chocolate at the bottom will burn.
Mixing the cheesecake until it's just about well combined is important. If you over mix, the batter becomes over aerated. This air will try to escape during the baking process causing cracks on the surface of the cheesecake.
This cheesecake bakes in a water bath in the oven. The steam from the water makes for an even, gentle cheesecake. But be careful to wrap the tin in foil tightly so that the water cannot seep in.