The only thing better than cheesecake, is chocolate cheesecake. Especially if the crust has chunky pieces of hazelnuts and the cheesecake is flavoured with “Frangelico” (Italian hazelnut liqueur). This is divine! Serve it with fresh strawberries, cover it with chocolate glaze and you have a dessert with a really WOW factor. It’s really easy to make and boy, it really has the looks! Not to mention you can prepare it up to two days in advance. You can make this cheesecake without the glaze, it would still be mouth watering and delicious. But the glaze adds that extra touch you might need for a special day. I’m not a person who really celebrates Valentine’s day (been there, done that many years ago), but if this day gives you incentive to make this dessert, then I’m all for it. Let’s celebrate LOVE!
Ingredients for the crust:
- 1 1/3 cups crushed “digestive” biscuits (about 12-13 biscuits)
- ½ cup coarsely ground hazelnuts (80gr)
- 85 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 2 T sugar
For the cheesecake:
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 200 grams dark chocolate (not 70% cocoa solids. 40-50% works best), chopped
- 1 ½ tbs cocoa
- 500 grams “Philadelphia” cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 Tbs “Frangelico” (Italian hazelnut liqueur. You can substitute with coffee liqueur if you prefer, or omit if you are serving minors)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 450 grams sour cream
Ingredients for the glaze:
- 160 grams dark chocolate (not 70% cocoa solids. 40-50% works best), chopped
- ½ cup double cream
- 2 Tbs “Frangelico” (Italian hazelnut liqueur. You can substitute with coffee liqueur if you prefer, or omit if you are serving minors)
- 1 Tbs golden syrup
Preheat oven to 175 C. Butter bottom and sides of a 23 cm (9”) round spring form pan with removable sides. Line bottom and sides with greaseproof paper.
Make the crust. Put the biscuits in a plastic, zip-lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin (you can do this in a food processor). Melt the butter over low heat. In a large bowl put the crushed biscuits, hazelnuts, cocoa and sugar. Mix briefly and add the melted butter. Stir well to coat all ingredients in the butter. Press mixture into prepared pan, covering the base and leveling surface with the back of a spoon. Bake crust for 10 minutes.
Make the cheesecake mixture. Put boiling water and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and shiny. Mix in the cocoa and take off the heat. In a bowl of a food processor or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, until smooth. Add the eggs, “Frangelico”, vanilla and sour cream. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth and combined.
Pour mixture on top of the crust. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave cheese cake to cool completely in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night (or up to two days).
Make the glaze. Heat the cream until almost boiling and poor over the chopped chocolate. Leave to stand and then stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Add the “Frangelico” and golden syrup and mix. Leave to cool but still pourable.
Unmold the cheesecake. Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Remove greaseproof paper from the sides and bottom of the cheesecake and discard. Transfer cheesecake on a serving platter. Drizzle with the cooled glaze. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts if you like and serve with lots of strawberries.