Following the French and white chocolate idea introduced earlier I’m offering this cheesecake. No, this cake is not as sweet as the previous one. The white chocolate here doesn’t dominate, it leaves you wonder and beg for more.
The cake is so simple and so chic! This is a European marvel at its best. You can serve it with fresh berries or raspberry coulis. And that’s exactly what the author (Fran Bigelow) suggested. Or, if you are not pressed for time, you can make the Fleur de Sel Hazelnut brittle to decorate the cake or serve alongside. I found them to be the perfect match for the cake. Extra time spent in the kitchen will certainly be highly appreciated at the end of your dinner, I promise. If you decide to make the cookies, make sure you have enough of them to offer separately, despite your plated presentation. Everybody always looks for more to indulge.
And the last but not least. Please, don’t ruin it by a graham crust, or any crust…
Adapted from Fran Bigelow’s “Pure Chocolate”
Makes one 9-inch round cake, about 12 servings
- 4 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ pounds (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 12 oz ripe Brie cheese, at room temperature (preferably 40 % butterfat), weighed after the rind is removed
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp (pinch) salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- Fleur de Sell Hazelnut Brittle for serving
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 300F.
Wrap a 9-inch springform into a double (triple, even better) layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lightly butter the pan inside. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper circle, and lightly butter the circle.
Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a wide skillet. Turn the burner off (if your stove is electric, remove the skillet from the burner) and wait for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl of chocolate in the hot water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric beaters, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cheese from the mixing bowl to another bowl and set aside.
In the same mixing bowl using the same paddle attachment (no washing necessary), on medium-high speed beat the Brie until completely smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl often with a rubber spatula. It’s crucial to beat the cheeses separately until smooth, and only then combine them in one bowl.
With the machine on medium speed, add the cream cheese to the Brie in 3 parts. Blend the cheeses together until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Add the salt and vanilla extract, beat until combined.
At medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
At low speed, pour the melted chocolate into the middle of the bowl. Mix until well blended, smooth, and creamy.
Pour into the prepared pan. Place the springform in a large roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the springform pan. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off the oven. Let the cake stand in the oven for another hour. By that time the cake should look set. Transfer the springform pan onto the rack and cool. Cover; chill the cake overnight.
Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and remove the side of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Bring to room temperature before serving. If you wish to top the cake with brittle, pile it high right before serving, otherwise the moisture from the cake will melt the caramel. Or you can plate the cake slices placing the brittle cookies on the top and/or at the side of each slice.
The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for as long as 1 week (never happened in our household).