Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bailey's Cheesecake, an Exceptional Cheesecake!

I often take inspiration from sights, sounds and certainly flavors that surrounded me while growing up. This post is also a trip into memory lane again like the last postDuring Christmas, as far as I can remember, tradition called for the offering of any visitor wishing us a Merry Christmas various sweet items such as chocolate, cake, dragĂ©e, and a small shot of liquor. Out of all the available options, my parents opted for Bailey's Irish Cream, and I can understand why! Though I could smell how delicious it was, I was not allowed to consume it of course. Once old enough, Bailey's was my first alcoholic experience, and it was love at first sip! Even till today, Bailey's remains one of my favorite drinks. 

In addition to drinking spirits and liquors, in moderation of course, I like to incorporate them into my cakes as they add another flavor dimension. Given how tasty Bailey's Irish Cream is, it is only appropriate that I use it in one of my recipes. The best candidate that I could think of was a cheesecake based recipe. I knew the combination would just work and I used the boozy cream in the three layers of the cake. I can't begin to describe how delicious it was, I just recommend that you try it and taste for yourself;  your taste buds will thank you for it! 

For the brownie base you need:
  • 75 g semisweet chocolate
  • 65 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g white sugar and 25 g dark brown sugar
  • 30 g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 5 g cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp of Bailey's Irish Cream
Line an 18 cm pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. 

Sift the flour and the cocoa powder and add the salt.

In a double boiler and over a gentle flame, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the instant coffee to the melted chocolate and butter mix and combine well until it dissolves. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, but don't add too much as its powerful taste can mask all other flavors!

When the chocolate mixture has cooled, add the sugar followed by the egg, Bailey's and the vanilla. Mix until everything is combined well. Now add the sifted dry ingredients, and mix well.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 10 to 15 min in a preheated oven (180 C). 

Leave it to cool.

For the cheesecake mix:
  • 600 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 120 g Greek yogurt ( you can use instead thick yogurt or sour cream)
  • 130 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 4 to 5 tbsp of Bailey's Irish Cream
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp of instant coffee

In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar,  yogurt, coffee and flour and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. 
Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed. 

Finally add the salt, vanilla, Bailey's cream and mix for less than one minute. 

Pour the batter over the baked brownies and gently shake and tap to even the top. 

Bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). 

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time that is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent).  This Bain-Marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I do is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and fill it with warm water then place the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This creates  a steamy environment in my oven and allows the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still a bit wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour. 

Let the cake cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight. 

You can serve the cheesecake as it is, it´s amazingly delicious but a layer of a velvety chocolate ganache won´t do yo any harm, no? 
To make the ganache you need:
  • 100 g  dark chocolate
  • 100 g cream (35%)
  • 1 tbsp Bailey's cream
Chop the chocolate into small chunks, heat the cream to a gentle simmer, then add over the chocolate and mix until all the chunks have melted. Now all you need is to add the Bailey's, stir  and let the ganache cool down for few minutes before you pour over the cheesecake.

The cake will taste even better few days after it was baked. However, I'm sure it won't last much.  
Don't be too indulgent, invite a friend or two to share this special cheesecake with!