Sunday, March 16, 2014

bailey's irish cream chocolate mousse cheesecake - happy st. patricks day!


Happy Leprechaun Day! I hope ya'll didn't get pinched too badly by all those people who take this wearing green thing way too seriously. I know it's Spring Break (well for me at least) but it's time to get back to work. Toiling away in the kitchen, testing recipes and writing blogs. I know, such a tough life. I can't complain though if I get to eat cakes like this afterwards; so let's dispense with the cordial banter and get started. 



I'm not saying I'm an alcoholic but, every chance that presents itself I have to take advantage of it. Sometimes I even play a game where I see how much booze I can slip into a dessert without someone noticing. I'm not sure if I won or lost, I can't really remember anything after that. But that's not the point seeing that this blog is about cooking and not about my personal life. 




After foraging through all of my cookbooks I couldn't find a decent cheesecake recipe that ticked all my boxes. Naturally I decided to create my own, knowingly winning over my mom by adding her favorite Bailey's Irish Cream. But then I felt guilty so I made a chocolate mousse to satisfy my dad. This gave birth to a new Post-Black Friday Chow inspired chow-fection. 



Take 3 tablespoons of butter and the cream cheese out to soften. You don't need to do what I did and leave the whole thing out. We'll use them later. So to start we're going to blind bake our chocolate graham cracker crust. When a recipe calls to blind bake something it means to bake without the filling. In your mini food processor pulse together the crackers, the sugar, your melted butter, salt, and cocoa powder. All you want is the mixture to resemble wet crumbs and when you press them together they slightly hold their shape. 



Grease a 9x9 inch pan, I used a spring-form but you are welcome to use any form of pan you want. A very helpful tip I learned is not to throw away the wrapper from your butter. There's always some grease stuck to the paper and you can use that to oil your pan. Dump the crumbs and using your knuckles or the back of spoon, pack the crumbs into one even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven at 400, uncovered, for 6-9 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Although mine tasted good I would have liked a more a chocolatey flavor. So keep in mind that the picture does not represent what yours might look like. In the recipe below I adjusted the measurements. Let it cool. I threw mine in the freezer.. 



Now, while the crust is cooling we can make the cheesecake. Because we had just come back from our holiday shopping I was really tired so I used a hand mixer, but you could totally make this without. Whip the heavy cream and the sugar until it reaches stiff peaks. Reserve that in a separate bowl. Combine the vanilla and eggs and beat until pale and smooth.


Where'd you come from Mickey?
Add 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. This will add a richness that you won't get with white sugar. Your butter and cream cheese should be super soft by now. Cream the cheese and the butter into the mixture until it's nice and smooth. Now it's time to add in the secret ingredient. Well not that secret seeing that it's in the title but anyways add the booze. I really love the flavor and the richness the Irish cream adds to this dish, plus I think it's a delicious variation to the standard plain cheesecake. Lastly toss in 2 tablespoons of instant coffee. I'm sure you knew that coffee and chocolate work good together, but did you know that coffee and Bailey's do as well. So due to the transitive property of equality the three must all work wonders together. Don't give me that look you learned that in 6th grade Trigonometry. 



Fold the reserved whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and pour onto the crust. Place the cheesecake in a pan tall enough to pour water halfway up the side. Instead of pouring the water in and then moving it to the oven. I put the pan on the oven rack and then pour the water in. It's much easier that way. Turn the oven down to 325 and bake the cheesecake for 45-55 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown but the center jiggles. 



In the meantime let's make the chocolate mousse. In a saucepan separate 4 yolks and add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream. Stir this on medium low or until it can coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture to ensure that you're left with a smooth mousse and transfer it back onto the stove to melt the chocolate. I just used the regular, semi sweet chocolate chips that you can find at Costco. Of course you could use good, expensive chocolate, in fact I debated to, but I wanted to make this recipe as accessible as possible to everyone. Turn the heat on low and toss the chocolate in. The residual heat should be enough to slowly melt the chocolate. Also throw in 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Because the cacao levels in the chocolate aren't very high, the cocoa powder will give the chocolate a deeper, chocolatey flavor. Add in the tiniest bit of vanilla and two tablespoons of Bailey's. We're not done yet. Take the rest of the heavy cream (1 1/4 cups) and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk this until stiff peaks, just like what we did with the cheesecake. To make this a mousse we need to fold in our whipped cream. Take the first third of cream and stir that in, just to loosen the mixture. After that you need to be careful not to pop the air bubbles. Fold it until you cannot see any streaks of white. Refrigerate until cold. It should be slightly thick but once it cools it'll thicken even more. When everything is chilled, about twenty minutes, top the cake with the mousse. Fridge again.


I made the fatal mistake of waiting until dark to take these pictures so keep in mind that this looks way better in person.


When everyone is ready to eat, unmold the pan and serve. 
The smooth mousse rolls into the light rich cheesecake and the chocolate crust provides that crunch that the cake needs. Not only can you taste the coffee and the chocolate, two combinations that work so well together, but the Bailey's flavor runs throughout. Trust me all your friends will go crazy over this. Thanks for joining me on another chow creation. And as always, 

Chow!


Recipe

For the Crust
1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers
1/2 tablespoon of  white sugar
2 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tablespoon of butter
pinch of salt

For the Cheesecake
1 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of softened butter
3 cups of softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream
1 1/2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules or 1 1/2 tablespoons of strong coffee

For the Chocolate Mousse
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of white sugar--divided
2 cups heavy cream--divided
1 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips--a.k.a 8 ounces of chocolate
2 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

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