Are you looking for an alternative Christmas dessert for those who are still full of pumpkin and apple pies from Thanksgiving? Try this creamy, chocolately convection. You can make it the day before, and just glaze it the day of. Your guest (and you) will love it.
Cooking spray, for greasing
1 (9-oz) package chocolate wafer cookies or the equivalent in chocolate graham crackers
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine salt
1 stick butter, melted
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp espresso powder
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp prepared coffee
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch-diameter spring-form pan with cooking spray.
2. For the crust: In a food processor, grind the cookies until finely ground. Blend in the sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and process until well blended; it should be the consistency of wet sand. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom (but not the sides) of the prepared pan. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake just until set, about 7 minutes. Allow it to cool while preparing the filing.
3. For the filling: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until melted, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and cocoa powder together, smoothing out any lumps of cocoa powder. In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, and then add the sugar-cocoa powder mixture. Add the espresso. Beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom with a rubber scraper when necessary. Blend in the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the lukewarm chocolate and stir until combined.
4. Pour the filing over the cooled crust, tap the pan on the tabletop to remove any air pockets, and then smooth the top to even out. Bake until the center is just set (jiggles like set gelatin) and looks dry, about 30 – 60 minutes depending on if you have a convection oven. Rotate half way through. Cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen, but do not remove the spring-form pan. Chill the cake in the refrigerator overnight.
5. For the glaze: Stir the heavy cream, chopped chocolate, honey and prepared coffee in a heavy, medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2-inch of the cheesecake’s edge and filling in any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour.
6. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter and release from the spring-form pan. Serve cold or allow to come to room temperature, about 2 hours.