This particular dessert had me thinking of a special Viennese coffee house that I had read about that spans back to the 1800's called Cafe Central. The interior architecture is made up of archways and columns, which makes for a wonderful atmosphere. Also, on certain days a piano player is there to insure that you can enjoy your coffee, pastry or dessert while you mellow out with the music. Now that I have transported you there, do not forget to find the exact spot where Sigmund Freud actually sat and drank his coffee back in the day...
The reason for these thoughts is because this cheesecake is not your average. The three flavor combo is well balanced and it has that wonderful creamy texture that we all look for in a slice of cheesecake. The almond crust adds just the right amount of nutty, crunchiness to each slice.
I am sure you are wondering what the three flavors make up the cheesecake filling. The filling has espresso powder-which I know you expected. The other flavor additions are what makes this cheesecake exceptional- the hazelnut liqueur and Irish Cream liqueur. With the amount used in this recipe, there is no fear of the flavor baking out of this dessert. The recipe makes one 9x13 inch cheesecake.
Now let's get into the kitchen....
adapted from Edible Communities
3 tbs melted butter
2 tbs granulated sugar
2 cups ground nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs instant espresso powder
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup Irish Cream liqueur ( I used Bailey's brand)
1/3 cup hazelnut liqueur ( I used Frangelico brand)
2 tbs hot water
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Start on the crust by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground nuts and the sugar. Then stir in the melted butter, making sure that all the dry ingredients are dampened with the melted butter.
Empty the mixture into a 9x13 inch pan. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan. The crust mixture should be compact. You can use your palms, a smaller pan that fits inside the pan, a pizza dough roller or other utensils in order to make it compact.
Place pan in oven and bake until golden brown. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool.
Turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Stir together the espresso powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.
Empty the mascarpone cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer. Then open one package or separate out 8 oz of cream cheese and cut into 1/2 inch cubes or divide into 1/2 inch lumps. Turn on the mixer and add cubes and mix on low speed for 3 minutes, stopping occassionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then cube the rest of the cream cheese and continue to drop pieces into the mixture while mixer is still running on low speed. After incorporating all the cream cheese, add both types of the sugar and let mixer run, again stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Once smooth and blended, add one egg and mix for about 10 seconds. Continue with this process for each of the remaining eggs, one at a time. After mixing all the eggs in, blend in the 2 yolks.
Lastly, stir in the espresso mixture, Irish cream and hazelnut liqueur. Pour batter into pan over the almond crust and smooth the top. Place pan inside another pan, such as a roasting pan or any pan that is lower or the same height as the pan with the cheesecake. Boil some water and pour it into the roasting pan and place in oven and let bake 50 minutes.
As it bakes, mix together granulated sugar and sour cream. Once the 50 minute bake time is completed, remove pan from oven and smooth sour cream mixture evenly over the top. Place back in oven and let bake until the majority of the cheesecake is firm with only about a quarter size center that still jiggles when moved, about 10 more minutes.
Take out of oven and remove cheesecake from the roasting pan. Run a knife around the interior side edges between the cheesecake and the pan. Let cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.
Tips and Notes:
1. Since I used a pastry frame to bake this in there were issues. The water bath pan was higher than the frame, so there was a certain steamy factor on the surface of the cheesecake. The pastry frame was not a good idea.
2. The cheesecake took double the amount of time to bake and got too toasty on the edges. I attribute this to the pastry frame and over mixing the filling. Overmixing must have whipped too much air into the batter or made it too runny. In spite of the edges and the extended bake time, the cheesecake was still delicious.
3. In order to make sure the surface does not brown too much before the cheesecake is thoroughly baked, I recommend to bake it until a 3 inch circle in the center remains jiggly. Then put the sour cream topping on and bake the the extra 10 minutes.
4. The recipe states that the crust can be run up the sides of the pan as well as in the bottom. The bottom only crust may take some bake time adjusting to get crispy and golden.
**LAST YEAR:Blackberry Hazelnut Torte**