Monday, April 27, 2009

DB + Cheesecake + Ferrero Rocher = Happiness!

I'm happy to introduce you to my Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake!

It's Daring Bakers time! The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Jenny provided us with a wonderful cheesecake recipe from her friend Abbey and told us to use it as a blank canvas and be creative with flavours. What a great idea!

I love Ferrero Rocher chocolates (who doesn't, really?) and I wanted to use it in baked goods for a while so this seamed like the perfect opportunity!

Here's the recipe with my changes in italic:

ABBEY'S INFAMOUS CHEESECAKE

Crust:

  • 2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I’ve used Digestive biscuits)
  • 1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder

Cheesecake:

  • 3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
  • 1 cup / 210 g sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (I didn’t use it)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
  • 1 tbsp liqueur, optional (I’ve used Frangelico)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 Ferrero Rocher chocolates cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 tbsp chopped roasted hazelnuts

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
  2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan. Set crust aside.
  3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and Frangelico and blend until smooth and creamy. Lastly add the chopped Ferrero Rocher.
  4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. 5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Then playing a little bit with the Ferrero Rocher theme, I covered the top with Nutella (softened a bit in the microwave) and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

I've also baked 4 little cheesecakelets, with a whole Ferrero Rocher inside. They weren't bad either...

They got the same Nutella and hazelnuts treatment on top.

Look at the whole Ferrero Rocher inside!!! You get crunchy, then creamy, then crunchy again, the chocolate, the hazelnut, and creamy again... You know, the kind of thing that makes me happy!

Saying this was good, is a complete understatement.

Ok, take this last bite and go check all the other creative cheesecakes from my fellow Daring Bakers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

And so this is Easter...

...and what have I done?

A chocolate egg filled with dulce de leche pannacotta!

The pannacotta is awesome on its own, so you don't have to go to the trouble of filling chocolate eggs, but it's a cute idea for an Easter dessert.

DULCE DE LECHE PANNACOTTA

  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) sugar
  • 100 ml milk
  • 600 ml cream
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche
  • 6 sheets of gelatine
In a large pan that will fit all the ingredients, start by caramelizing the sugar until it's golden brown. Meanwhile boil the cream and milk together and add to the caramel as soon as it has the desired color. Be careful because it will boil up, turn the heat down and whisk. Part of the caramel will become hard, but that's fine, because it will melt again. Keep whisking until all the caramel is dissolved. Take the pan out of the stove and add the dulce de leche mixing well. Add the gelatine as well. When working with sheets you need to soften them in cold water first, so make sure you don't skip this step. Pass the mixture through a sieve and put into glasses or moulds and refrigirate. If you're going to fill the chocolate eggs wait a bit!

To fill the chocolate eggs with the pannacotta you first need to cut one small cap on the eggs, do that cutting very carefully with a hot knife. Then you need to stabilize the eggs, you can do that by putting each egg inside a small espresso cup with pieces of kitchen towel. Last you need to cool down your pannacotta, otherwise it will melt the chocolate, just leave it at room temperature and mix it every once in a while. The trick is filling the eggs while the mixture is not hot anymore but it's still not as cold that it starts getting hard from the gelatine.

Why have just hollow eggs when you can have this caramelly creamy filling? Really, why?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I have a sweet tooth!

I swear to you these are not my gradma's! They're made out of white chocolate!

Have you ever seen these silicone moulds? They're originally made to put ice in, but ever since I saw them (here) I knew I wanted to try with chocolate. Because I have nothing against ice, but hey, chocolate tastes much better!

Can you believe I've actually made this to my dentist? Can you imagine his face? He really loved it!

Here's how I've made them:

After filling the teeth part with just white chocolate I've colored the rest with an oil based red food coloring. Only oil based food colorings will work when coloring plain chocolate, but instead of doing this step you could use pink candy melts.

Then I've filled the rest of the moulds with the pinkish chocolate and let it set.

Are they cute or what? You almost could use them to play a joke for April Fool's Day!

Ouch!

I'll have to bite it next! Oh sweet revenge!

These sweet teeth really put a smile on my face!