Posted by: njbrown | November 2, 2009

An expedition for chocolate and “Sinfully rich”Chocolate Orange Cheesecake


November 2, 2009

Today is a beautiful fall day, and since it is my Monday off, I started early on an almost twenty-mile drive through rolling farmland to the store I’d found on-line that sells chocolate of all kinds.  Although the leaves are long past their peak, there was still some color, and the trip went quickly and very pleasantly.  With the aid of my GPS, I had no trouble getting to my destination.  The store is located in a small town with a picture-perfect main street complete with darling shops and street lights that look like gas lamps.  I had never spent any time there before, but found it really charming today.

I hadn’t known what to expect of the store, and had vague visions of a Bulk Barn kind of place, but it was wonderful, with a wide range of cake decorating and cooking equipment and ingredients available in small and large quantities.  Better yet, the prices were far better than I’d found anywhere.  I was able to buy almost two pounds of Callebaut couverture chocolate (the thick blocks that I use for making curls by shaving with the back of my chef’s knife) for around $12 Cdn, and a large bag of Callebaut chocolate chips for about $5.  I bought a large bag of Merkens chocolate wafers (already tempered), and a large bar of Weinrich Dutch chocolate.  As well, I decided to invest almost $8 in a bottle of organic vanilla extract made from beans from Indonesia, Madagascar, and “Papa” New Guinea since Ina is always saying to use “good vanilla.”  (Having compared it once home with my no-name variety, I think it’s a little better, but the difference isn’t startling. )  On the way home, I stopped at a discount store to try to find a replacement for my tattered recipe file, but emerged only with two bars of Godiva 70% chocolate.  All of this chocolate buying is in preparation for making the chocolate-orange cheesecake, and trying a chocolate-orange mousse.

It was almost lunch-time when I got home and I hadn’t had any breakfast, but I decided to give taste-testing the chocolate top priority.  All of the chocolates were sold as dark chocolate.  I found the Merkens to be quite sweet – sweeter than any dark chocolate I’ve ever had – but pleasant in flavor.  (I’m not going into floral notes, fruitiness, “mouth feel,” etc.  I don’t have a clue.)  The Godiva was more bitter, and the Weinrich was similar.  The Callebaut again – for me – was the very best.  It had a cinnamony “finish” (if that is the right term).  The Merkens contains some milk, but the Callebaut doesn’t, making it fine to use for anything my daughter will eat.  The instructions on the Weinrich were in many foreign languages, but English wasn’t one of them, so I’m unsure about it’s composition.  It was sold to me as a chocolate to be used in coating.

In the past, I had topped the cheesecake with concentric rings of chocolate ribbons.  I had a French pastry book that had recipes with an amazing number of errors (it came with several pages of corrections), but the ribbon-making instructions were helpful.  This book was eliminated in the great clear-out prior to our move.  However, in the age of the internet, videos are available with a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse.  Julia has a demonstration on making chocolate  ribbons:

//www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/medrich.html

After watching it on Friday, I decided to give it a whirl last night.  Julia warns that you have to expect to mess up a lot of chocolate in the pursuit of cigarettes, curls, etc.  After trying the chocolate-covered baking sheet in and out of the refrigerator several times, I achieved the right consistency and curls were coming out fairly well; however, ribbons remained elusive.  I’ll go back to the video again, and make sure it wasn’t the thickness of the chocolate, or the cocoa content that might have affected its ability to ripple.  The pot-luck is more than a month away, so I have time to work on this.  Failing that, I can use broken pieces of chocolate with a sifting of confectioner’s sugar over them as Julia suggests in a number of her books.

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake (taken from Family Circle magazine May, 1977 issue)  – ” ‘Sinfully rich’ with a velvety-smooth texture and orange-accented bitter-sweet chocolate flavor. Bake 350 for 1 hour.  Makes 16 servings.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 24 wafers)
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (½ stick) butter softened
  • 2 pkgs (6 oz. each) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 Tb. flour
  • 2 Tb. grated orange rind
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Prepare crust:  Blend crumbs, sugar and cinnamon with the softened better in a small bowl.
  2. Press crumb mixture onto side and bottom of a well-buttered 9-inch spring-form pan.  Chill while preparing filling
  3. Prepare filling:  Melt chocolate in a medium-size bowl over hot, not boiling water.
  4. Soften cream cheese in a large bowl.  Add sugar gradually and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Beat in eggs and egg yolks until mixture is light and fluffy.  Blend in flour.
  6. Add melted chocolate, orange rind and cream.  Beat until well-blended.  Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in a moderate over (350 degrees) for 1 hour. (Place a piece of foil under pan to catch any butter that might seep through pan during baking.)
  8. Turn off oven heat, and let cake remain in oven, with door closed, 40 minutes longer.
  9. Remove cake from oven, cool in pan on wire rack at least 2 hours.  (Cake will sink slightly.)
  10. Loosen cake around edge with metal spatula, then remove side of spring-form pan.
  11. Serve at room temperature, but keep any unused cake in refrigerator.
  12. Pipe whipped cream on top if you wish.

When I served this without the chocolate ribbons, I piped whipped cream rosettes every couple of inches around the top, topped each rosette with a Mandarin orange segment half dipped in chocolate, and covered the center with chocolate curls.  Decoration can be a simple or ornate as you wish.

As you can see, there were no calorie and fat-content notes accompanying this recipe, since we weren’t as concerned in those days.  This obviously is a dessert for when you are in the mood for something very self-indulgent.

Enjoy!

Nancy

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