14 April 2014

Eats: nutella cheesecake

Whew! How about we come off of that juice cleanse with a real kick to the system, hmm? I mean, I suppose I could’ve come up with a super-crunchy, fresh salad to get back into our routine. But I didn’t.

I mean, life is all about balance. If you exercise on Saturday, you rest on Sunday. If you eat too much for breakfast, you have a light lunch. And if you spend a week talking about eating nothing but plants, you have to balance that with a cheesecake made from nutella.

Seems about right!

I made this a few weeks ago for a coworker’s birthday. Fortunately, he didn’t have a preference for what sort of cake I should bring, so I suggested that I try this Nigella recipe I’ve had my eye on. Bonus: it looked so dang easy. Well... dang easy after you convert all the ingredients and measurements to American standards. But still. Six ingredients! One of which I totally ignored! And it still came out wonderfully, which means you can easily add it to your Easter feast to-do-list (not to play favorites; I just doubt that nutella cheesecake has a place at your traditional Passover Seder).

One thing to note about this recipe is that I didn’t convert the ingredients to American units precisely because, for once in my life, I was actually scaling this recipe up. I’m forever scaling recipes down to better suit our family of two, but as this was for a work function, I wanted to be able to serve the crowd!

So. We start with two packets of graham crackers (what Nigella calls “digestive biscuits”), a stick of softened, salted butter, and a jar of nutella. Please note that while I’m not showing an entire stick of butter in the photo, you should probably go ahead and use one. Look, it’s fine. We just went through that juice cleanse. Balance!

You need sixteen graham crackers total, and as you can see, they need to get all crumbed up in your food processor. Once they’re nice and powdery, mix them with the butter (one stick, or eight tablespoons) and one “tablespoon” of nutella (by which I mean I scooped out some nutella with a regular cereal spoon, dropped most of it in the crumbs, and licked the rest off the spoon.)

Stir stir stir! Then press press press into a 10” springform pan!

No need to grease the pan, as this crust isn’t getting baked. Plus, well... the stick of butter. You know.

Oh, and PS: I am absolutely certain that you could use a store-bought graham cracker crust instead of making your own, if you’re ok with the size. I didn’t think that small pie crust would serve my whole crowd, so I made my own. If you do go with a smaller store-bought crust, be sure to scale down the rest of the ingredients as well (or just be prepared to eat the leftover filling with a spoon. That works too!).

Now it’s time to make the filling! Again, I scaled UP from converting Nigella’s recipe. I used three 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese and six tablespoons sifted confectioner’s sugar, and creamed them together.

Now – are you ready? – add 1 3/4 cup of nutella.

Awwwww yiss.

This probably would have been a good time to use my stand mixer. And yet somehow, I totally forgot about it. If you have one, though, I’d advise it – I nearly snapped my rubber spatula in two trying to stir this together thoroughly.

Once it’s combined, though, add it to the crust!

I think that photo above captures the one thing I didn’t like about this cheesecake: the texture. I’m already not a huge fan of no-bake cheesecakes (I’ll always prefer a baked one), but this one was particularly... gelatinous? I have no idea how or why, but the batter seemed to be more firm and less smooth the more I stirred it. Does that make sense? Hopefully, you can see what I mean from the photo.

Still! I did my best to spread it out and fill the entire pan:

I never could get the top completely smooth, which explains why Nigella has you cover the top in hazelnuts. I didn’t have any, so I just used leftover toffee bits. And then promptly forgot to take a final photo, because I had to get that baby to work!

Anyway, once you hide its gooey looks and get over its quivery texture, you can’t deny that this is one delicious dessert! It tastes exactly like what you’d expect: nutella and cream cheese. It’s super rich and decadent and way too easy for how good it tastes. Next time you need a quick dessert, have this one! Enjoy!

Finally, here’s what’s on the menu this week at Casa P (I skipped last week because that would just have been mean to talk about real food after juicing):

Sunday: bourbon chicken (recipe soon!) with rice and green beans

Monday: stroganoff meatballs with noodles and peas

Tuesday: tacos and guacamole! We’re setting a pretty serious Taco Tuesday tradition lately at Casa P.

Wednesday: Thai red curry with veggies and rice

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: pesto, artichoke, tomato, and goat cheese focaccia with salad

Saturday: spicy grilled chicken, a new potato recipe, and roasted broccoli

Have a great week, dear readers!