…Chocolate Grand Marnier cheesecake, to be precise.
Half a million years ago, on an adventure with my way-cool sister Susan, I bought a springform pan. Since then, I’ve made it one of my goals in life to perfect the art of cheesecake making, because the perfect cheesecake has always been part of my fantasy life. I have yet to reach the desired level of perfection…but that just means I have to keep trying. I’ve done plain (nice, and sometimes absolutely necessary), but most recently I’ve been expanding my cheesecake repertoire. Which means, of course, that when we head downstate for Thanksgiving dinner with Susie’s crew, I must bring one of my practice pieces.
Susie has always liked chocolate and orange. The first time we went to London together ten years ago, we spent a large portion of our time on a quest for chocolate orange candy bars (but that’s another story for another time). We both have a penchant for Grand Marnier in hot chocolate when the weather turns snowy and nasty, like it has today. So it is only natural that, when she requested I bring the dessert for Thursday,
I read between the lines and came up with the chocolate Grand Marnier cheesecake.
This morning brought a horrifying emergency, sadly: the bottom of my trusty springform pan has gone AWOL. I tossed the kitchen–a band of thugs could not have done a better job of hurling things about in a search. To no avail, sadly. That bottom has gone. So I had to improvise. But I am a clever person, and I can (and did) make do.
One of the best parts of baking–beyond watching people happily eat the result
(and I must say that my niece Katie is already making happy noises about this cheesecake, though she won’t get any until after dinner tomorrow)–is licking the bowl. Or the beaters. Or the spoon. If you are like I was this morning, snowbound and with no one else at home, you get to do all three. Unfortunately, once that’s done, you get to clean up the mess all by yourself as well. Why do you never see anyone doing dishes on those cooking shows?
I guess I could give out the recipe…it’s an amalgamation of all the best parts of all the best recipes I’ve ever tried myself. Pretty tasty, if I say so myself. We’ll have to see what the verdict is after Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.
CHOCOLATE GRAND MARNIER CHEESECAKE
1 1/2 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers (about 1/3 box)
4 oz (1 stick) melted butter
4 packages cream cheese (8 oz each)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
zest of two oranges
Mix melted butter and crushed chocolate graham crackers.
Line a 10-inch springform pan with baking parchment (believe me, you will be grateful for this step).
Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan.
Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each. Add sour cream and mix well.
Melt chocolate. (Double boilers are best for melting–microwaves have a tendency to scorch the chocolate, I’ve found.) Mix into batter along with Grand Marnier. Stir in zest of one orange.
Pour filling over crust. Bake in preheated 300˚ oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off oven and crack door. Cool cheesecake in oven. Remove from pan. Refrigerate overnight for next-day eating. Sprinkle zest of second orange over top before serving.
My orange zester has to be one of the most awesome kitchen gadgets ever. Would you believe my way-cool sister gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago?