Growing up, we never had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Ever. Our holiday dessert was usually a tart with a mosaic of macadamia nuts, pecans and chocolate chips. I’m not sure how pumpkin pie got taken out of our holiday mix, but I liked that our family didn’t have the usual spread of stuffing and cranberry sauce.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I fully realized the appeal of traditional favorites – and that I was the only one who thought that buttered egg noodles with poppy seeds was Thanksgiving staple. Who knows how certain family food traditions get started!
We now have a holiday tradition for ending our turkey-day meal with cheesecake, the chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake. I’ve included the recipe below, but I don’t want to make you nervous about trying this because the directions go on and on. See, I want you to have the best, crack-free, dense cheesecake possible so I’ve included ever little trick along the way.
Remember, making a good cheesecake is all about patience, not talent (this is from someone who’s never mastered souffles). Even better, cheesecakes are best made a day or two ahead, meaning you won’t have to figure out how to have enough oven space for your turkey, rolls, and, of course, green bean casserole.
- 9 ounces chocolate wafers
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chips are fine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup raspberry jam
- 2 packages cream cheese – make sure the cheese is at room temperature
- ¾ cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Decorating your cheesecake is optional but you might consider it if you want some extra flavor or to impress your audience!
- blackberries or other berries of your choice
- any kind of nuts you prefer (be careful with allergies)
- crushed cookies…
In a food processor, grind up the chocolate wafers (I also add just a touch of salt). I use Pepperidge Farms chocolate goldfish as the base for my crust—they’re not overly sweet like Oreos with cream filling. Add the melted butter to the crushed cookies.
Here’s the tricky part. You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan. Surround the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (I’ll explain more on this later.) Cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom part of the pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray then insert the paper and spray again.
Press the cookie crumbs into the pan and half way up the sides with your fingers (I’ve tried this with spoons, but frankly fingers are best). Put the crust into the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Filling: Yes, beat for ALL 7 minutes
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large, glass measuring bowl, melt the chocolate and the heavy cream together in the microwave. Melt the two slowly. I usually start at half the power level for around two minutes. When the chips start to lose their shape, I finish the melting process by stirring the mixture vigorously. Add the jam to the chocolate mixture, stir and let it cool about 10 minutes.
In another large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the sugar. As I noted in the directions, it’s key to have the cream cheese at room temperature. (Eggs, too!) Beat the sugar and cream cheese for at least 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now, add the vanilla and the chocolate-raspberry mixture. Beat all the ingredients together for at least 5 minutes (I set a timer).
Constructing a waterbath
Here’s another tricky part—creating a water bath for your cheesecake. water bath keeps your cheesecake dense and smooth instead of dry. You’ll need a large, glass baking dish. I wish I had a larger one, but my biggest is 9×11” so I have to improvise. (I also add a larger, cookie baking pan under the casserole dish to make it easier to get it into and out of the oven.)
Make several aluminum balls and place them in the center of the baking dish because the casserole dish isn’t wide enough. Next, gently press the springform pan into the casserole dish. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust, making sure that your aluminum balls stay in place and keep your pan level. Add about a half an inch of water to the bottom of the casserole dish (not into your cheesecake!). Carefully put the whole contraption into the preheated oven. Make sure the foil comes all the way up.
Bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until the cheesecake just jiggles in the center.
Place your pan carefully in the oven
Once the cheesecake is set, turn off the oven and leave the door open. Wait one hour and then remove the cheesecake. Carefully pull it out of the water bath. Gently release the springform mechanism, but don’t remove it. Use a butter knife to separate the crust from the pan (this will ensure that the top doesn’t crack).
Once your cheesecake is done, you can optionally decorate it. I used blackberries because they add up a sweet-savory kick to a dense chocolate flavored cheesecake.
Finally, put your cheesecake into the fridge for at least one day before serving.
Note: If you’re taking this dessert to a party, make sure you cut it at home in thin slices—there’s nothing worse than your cheesecake getting hacked to pieces in the rush to serve dessert. Make your job—or your host’s—easier by cutting it beforehand. If I’m serving the cheesecake at home, I put one slice on the plate, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and then sprinkle with cocoa. If I have fresh raspberries or mangos, I’ll add a few of those too. Enjoy!
I am Barbara, but you can also call me Squid Mom 🙂
MyKidsEatSquid is for those parents who want to cook healthy delicious recipes for their children, that everyone can enjoy! Dishes of all types are taken apart and their creation is explained in detail. My goal is to empower parents and encourage them to make these dishes at home and get their children involved, as well.