Hello my friend, happy Tuesday!
So, I have a confession to make.
Every time I sit down to write a post, varying degrees of anxiety boil up inside me.
Actually, let’s be completely honest. Every day in which I’m going to at some point be writing a post, varying degrees of anxiety are incessantly playing a particularly vicious game of table tennis inside my head.
Now I admit, it’s at least slightly logical to be concerned with what people will think of the recipe, writing, photography, etc…but, well, that’s not actually what makes me anxious.
It’s simpler than that.
The sole reason?
I can’t think of anything to write about!
Those first words. That first thought. A direction to steer the writing. That’s all I need, and then everything’s flowing, and I’m ok.
But before that point? Ugh.
All. Day. Long. A constant circus going on in my mind. One half realizing that actual words will have to be written later, and terrified that none will come when I need them, so frantically trying to get something planned out. The other half realizing that I’m overanalyzing, which will absolutely cause a mental block, and trying to shut the first half off.
By the time I actually sit down to write, my mind has exhausted itself to the point that the mere sight of the blinking cursor makes it almost irresistibly tempting to just drop the whole dilemma, and curl up with a glass of wine and a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie.
I have absolutely no idea.
But there is a bright side.
For this one particular post, it’s solved its own problem and given me something to write about. I’m reveling in this small victory.
Anyway. Let’s talk cheesecake.
Rich and unbelievably melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate cheesecake, topped with gorgeously silky Meyer lemon curd, to be precise.
The cheesecake itself is actually a riff off my recipe for mascarpone cheesecake, but the combination of cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate take it to a completely new depth of decadence.
There’s a little something else lurking that contributes to the depth of chocolate, however.
A smidgen of espresso powder works incredible magic in chocolate desserts, intensifying the chocolate flavor. More than a smidgen, though, and you’ll obviously end up with mocha cheesecake – not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case, let’s stick with pure and rich chocolate, sans coffee flavor. A smidgen of espresso powder it is.
I’ve also gotten solidly hooked on adding a little mascarpone to cheesecake. It perfectly brightens up the heaviness and richness of cream cheese, without taking away any of the decadence of the end result, if that makes any sense? A little lighter, a little brighter, the most discreetly modest hint of tanginess, and unimaginable creaminess: these are the contributions of mascarpone.
And the Meyer lemon curd? Gorgeously silky, tart yet sweet, buttery yet light, with just enough of a vaguely floral essence to keep things interesting.
Put the two together?
Deep, rich, and decadent, yet bright. Absolutely entrancing.
Something truly worth writing about.
(Prep time doesn't include a few hour chill in the fridge.)
- 1 package Oreos
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1⅓ cups mascarpone, room temperature
- 12 ounces quality dark chocolate, chopped (try to avoid chocolate chips here and use bar chocolate instead - chocolate chips are designed not to melt, and as a result will throw the texture off a bit)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- ½ cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (from about 6-7 Meyer lemons)
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9-inch springform pan, and wrap the bottom of the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil.
- Process the Oreos in a food processor until they're fine, sandy crumbs. (This could also be done by putting the Oreos in a ziploc bag and using a rolling pin to crush them.) Pour the Oreo crumbs into a medium bowl, and stir in the melted butter until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and press gently into an even layer on the bottom. Bake for 8 minutes, and then set aside.
- Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until light and smooth, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running on medium, slowly pour in the sugar and salt. Beat for 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, and beat for 1 more minute.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a full minute after each egg. Add the mascarpone, and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed.
- Place the chopped dark chocolate in a small bowl and microwave for 20-second bursts until melted, stirring in between each time. Add the melted dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder, and beat on medium until fully incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan - or any large oven-proof baking dish - and place on the center rack of the oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 90 minutes until set, but still slightly wobbly in the center.
- Turn off the oven and prop the door slightly open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool, in the water bath, in the cooling oven for 1 hour. Then carefully remove from the oven and remove the pan from the water bath. Carefully remove the foil from the bottom, and set the pan on a cooling rack. Gently run a knife around the sides of the pan to release it, let it cool to room temperature, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is best) before serving.
- Fill a medium pot with a couple inches of water, and bring to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. (Keep the butter chilled.)
- Place the bowl over the pot of boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk constantly, so that the eggs don't scramble. After about five minutes, it will start to look frothy. Keep whisking, and in about five more minutes, it will become thick and creamy. Whisk for 1 more minute, just to thicken. (You'll whisk for a total of about 11 minutes.)
- Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the chilled butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, letting the residual heat melt it.
- Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd (otherwise a film will develop), and refrigerate a couple hours until chilled, or overnight.
I’d love to see if you’ve made a recipe! Shoot me an email, or post and tag #rainydayscaramelized!