DECEMBER 1998
RECIPES



Quick Chocolate Fixes I--Chocolate "Bark"

Quick Chocolate Fixes II--Chocolate-Dipped Goodies

Rugelach

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Fudge Pie

Easy Seven-Layer Bars



Sweet Spot

 


White Chocolate Cheesecake

About 12 servings

Tips: If you've been dreaming of a white Christmas, this might help! It's a crustless, white chocolate-lemon cheesecake, not too sweet, very smooth, and with an optional blueberry topping. This cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for five days or so, if tightly covered, and it freezes well. You MUST use excellent-quality white chocolate for this, and it must chill at least overnight before you eat it. Other possibilities for topping your cheesecake: cranberry sauce or compote (preferably homemade and with a bit of orange rind added), fresh fruit, or a good chocolate sauce. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and you're all set.

Blueberry Sauce:

  • 2 bags (12 ozs. each) individually quick-frozen blueberries (without sugar added)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

White Chocolate Cheesecake:

  • 12 ozs. best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 27 ozs. (3-8 oz. packages plus 1-3 oz. package) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 egg whites, from eggs graded "large"
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • Grated rind of 1-2 large lemons (no white pith)
For Blueberry Sauce:

Do not thaw berries. Combine all ingredients in heavy-bottomed, nonreactive 2-quart pot. Place over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to dissolve sugar, then stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cool, then chill until needed.

For Cheesecake:

Trim a round of corrugated cardboard so that it fits into the bottom of an assembled 9" diameter by 3" tall springform pan (preferably nonstick, and the pan MUST be 3" tall). Take two pieces of regular aluminum foil, each about 18" long, and place them on a flat surface in an "X" pattern. Place the cardboard circle in the middle of the "X"; fold the foil in over the cardboard, flattening as much as possible on the bottom of the cardboard round. The result should be a foil-covered cardboard circle, with one surface smooth. Place this, smooth side up, into the bottom of your springform pan. (Note that this foil-covered disc is optional, but using it means you'll have the bottom of your springform pan free, and you won't accidentally cut the pan bottom when you're slicing the cheesecake.) Now, tear off two pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, each about 20" long. Again place the foil sheets in an "X" pattern, then place the assembled pan in the middle of the "X". Fold the foil up and around the pan sides, trimming away any excess. You want the outside of the pan covered in foil, right up to the edge. With softened butter, butter the sides of the pan ONLY (do this even if the pan is nonstick, and you'll butter the inside sides of the pan, not the foil-covered outside). Have ready a pan that is of larger dimensions but shallower than your springform; the springform must be able to fit inside this larger pan. If the larger pan is aluminum, sprinkle about a teaspoon of cream of tartar into it to prevent discoloration. Have ready a pot of simmering water, enough to fill the larger, shallower pan to a depth of about 1". Set the prepared springform pan and the larger, shallower pan aside.

Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped white chocolate and heavy cream. Place over hot water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir very frequently until melted and smooth (a whisk may be helpful). Remove from heat and hot water. Note that white chocolate can be stubborn about melting smoothly; if yours is this way, remove from heat and hot water when mostly melted. Turn into food processor fitted with steel blade; process at high speed just until smooth. Scrape into a clean bowl; allow to stand at room temperature until needed, whisking occasionally.

In large bowl of electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt. Beat at medium speed just until perfectly smooth; you don't want a lot of air in this batter. Make sure to scrape bowl and beater(s) often throughout mixing process to ensure smoothness. At a low speed, gradually add egg whites, beating after each addition just until well-mixed.

Stir or whisk white chocolate mixture (which may still be warm) briefly. Still beating at a low speed, add to cream cheese mixture, beating until smooth. Beat in sour cream. Remove from mixer. With large spatula, stir in vanilla and grated lemon rind. Pour batter over large spatula into prepared springform pan. If there are any obvious air bubbles, prick with toothpick or knife point.

For Assembly:
Place larger, shallower pan on oven rack. Pour in enough simmering water to make a thin covering on pan bottom. Carefully place springform pan in center of larger pan so that it does not touch any of the sides. CAREFULLY add more simmering water to a depth of about 1"; too much water will slow the baking process. Don't get any water into the cheesecake batter. Close oven door.

Bake 8 minutes at 400 degrees F. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F; bake 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes longer. Check water level in larger pan after about 50 minutes; if necessary, add more simmering water to larger pan to maintain 1" depth. Cheesecake will rise when baking (it may even be slightly above the edge of the pan)--OK. Center of cheesecake will not seem done at end of baking time; only a narrow band of batter around the outside of the pan will seem set. CAREFULLY remove springform pan from larger pan of water and the oven--it will be hot, wet, and slippery. Place springform on cooling rack. Gently tear and cut foil from outside of springform (don't worry about the foil on the outside bottom, and don't disturb the cheesecake too much).

Cool on rack at room temperature, out of drafts, for about 2-1/2 hours; you should be able to hold your hand on the pan bottom at that point, though it will still be warm. Gently loosen cheesecake from pan sides, then remove sides of springform pan from cheesecake (leave the bottom of the pan in place till the cheesecake is cold). Refrigerate cheesecake till cold, then gently loosen and remove pan bottom, leaving foil-covered disc as a base for cheesecake. To wrap, place plain paper towel on top of cold cheesecake, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap (paper towel will absorb any condensation). Chill at least overnight before serving.

To cut, use large, sharp, heavy knife. Run knife blade under hot water and shake off (do not dry) before making every cut or every other cut. Store cheesecake in refrigerator. Serve with Blueberry Sauce and lightly sweetened whipped cream or as desired.


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