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crème fraîche cheesecake with chocolate ganache and mint meringue + a giveaway from emile henry, mauviel, and lékué!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

cheesecakea

Hello! I have another exciting giveaway for you. Three more pieces of kitchen equipment that I absolutely love: Emile Henry mixing bowls, Mauviel Copper Sugar Saucepan, and a Lékué springform mold. The mixing bowls are pretty much a necessity in any kitchen, and this set is lovely, with three different sized nesting bowls. I use them all the time – for mixing, of course, but also for holding fruit and filling with chips at parties, among other things. The sugar saucepan is beautiful (I included it on my gift guide as well), and I find it to be a fantastic tool for making Italian buttercream. And the springform mold has been a game changer for me. I will admit I was skeptical about silicone molds when I was first introduced to them, but I have fallen in love with them after never having to worry about messy cheesecake sides. The mold peels away from the cheesecake every time, leaving perfect sides. Extra bonus: the cheesecake bakes on a white ceramic plate that is perfect for serving on as well, and I never have to have the stress of sliding a cheesecake on to a serving plate ever again.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
1 winner will receive 1 Emile Henry Mixing Bowl Set + 1 Mauviel Copper Sugar Saucepan + 1 Lékué Springform Mold + a copy of The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Kieffer. Participants who complete*** this form*** will be entered for a chance to win. Contest is open through 12/13 to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.  The winner will be randomly selected through random.org and notified via e-mail no later than 12/16. The winner’s name and address will be shared with Emile Henry, Mauviel, and Lékué for the sole purpose of mailing out the prize. Thank you! (Also: don’t forget to enter my Minted giveaway as well!)

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(The Canadian cover is different than the US, so if you live in Canada and win, this is what your prize package will look like.)

cheesecake7a

Crème Fraîche Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and Mint Meringue
The key to a perfect cheesecake? For me, it was a few little tricks. The cheesecake batter needs to be perfectly and completely smooth, with no lumps or bumps. This means scraping down the bowl often and beating the batter for quite a long time. After the batter is poured into the cake pan, I found banging the pan against the counter 10-12 times helped bring any air bubbles to the surface, and resulted in a cheesecake that rose perfectly flat and did not crack. Double wrapping the cheesecake pan with foil insured white sides that didn’t over bake.

A few notes: The layer of chocolate is thin; just a taste. You can double the ganache if you want more. Just make sure to let it set before topping with the meringue. Also, the meringue does have liqueur in it, which could flame when toasted. This didn’t happen to me, but, just be warned. You can use only mint extract if you don’t have crème de menthe. I didn’t go crazy with the meringue – just smooth and lightly toasted, but you could pull a Zoe and make it very fancy. Chocolate or vanilla wafer crackers would also make a great crust, if you aren’t fond of a graham cracker crust.

Crust
2 cups (200g) graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake
2 pounds (904g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (198g) granulated sugar
8 ounces (226g) crème fraîche
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mint Meringue
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon crème de menthe
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (more if desired)

For the crust
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 325F.

Whisk the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter over the graham crackers and mix with a spatula until it is evenly incorporated. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. After the pan has cooled, wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil, with the shiny side facing out.

For the cheesecake
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light, fluffy, and completely smooth, 4-5 minutes. Scrap down the bowl repeatedly, making sure that by the end every tiny speck of cream cheese is silky smooth. Add the sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and making sure the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the crème fraîche, vanilla, and salt, and beat again for 2-3 minutes. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, and beat on medium after each addition, scraping down the bowl as needed, and mixing until just combined. Add the heavy cream and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Use a spatula to finish mixing.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust, and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Bang the bottom of the springform pan on your kitchen counter to help get rid of any air bubbles (I do this quite a few times, until most the air bubbles that appear on the surface pop).

Set a roasting pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with 16 cups of warm water. Set the cheesecake on the middle oven rack and bake for 1 hour without opening the door. Check the cheesecake after an hour. The outer ring (about 2-3 inches) of the cake should be slightly puffed and fairly firm, but the center should be jiggly when wiggled gently. If the outer ring is not firm, let the cheesecake cook another 10-15 minutes. If it is done, turn the oven off and open the oven door just a crack, letting the cheesecake rest and cool in the oven for one hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and continue cooling it on a wire rack.

Move the cheesecake to the refrigerator. Place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the pan, and let chill at least four hours or overnight.

For the ganache
Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan, until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the wrap and whisk the cream and chocolate together, until it is completely smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk again to combine. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature, and then pour over top of the chilled cheesecake, using an offset spatula to distribute it evenly and smooth the top. Let the glaze set before topping with meringue (I let it chill in the refrigerator while I am making the meringue).

For the meringue
Put about an inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the egg whites, sugar, and salt to combine. Place the bowl over the saucepan, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until the sugar is completely melted and reaches a temperature of 160°F, 4 to 5 minutes. While you are stirring, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula—this will ensure no sugar grains are lurking on the sides and also help prevent the egg whites from cooking.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk on medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. The bowl should have cooled down to room temperature at this point. Add the vanilla, crème de menthe, and mint extract, and beat until combined. Scoop the meringue onto the cheesecake and arrange as desired (I went smooth here, but you could make curls or spikes as well). Use a kitchen torch to gently toast the meringue, if desired.

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  • Reply
    heather (delicious not gorgeous)
    Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    whoa, you fancy. and smart move on the ganache; i was lazy and tried to use only chocolate once, and slicing, eating, etc was a pain in the butt.

  • Reply
    maya kuijper
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 1:02 am

    the meringue is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Reply
    michelle @ hummingbird high
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 7:32 am

    just when i thought your cheesecakes couldn’t be anymore perfect, you go ahead and make this one. bravo, bravo. xoxo

  • Reply
    Victoria Pease
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 8:03 am

    This is like a winter wonderland cheesecake! It sounds so dreamy and fluffy and I love the addition of mint. May need to give it a go this Christmas!

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

  • Reply
    Sarah | Well and Full
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 8:44 am

    So creative to put meringue on a cheesecake! It looks beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    Karina Shecter
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Wondering if u have ever used this batter recipe for individual mini cheesecakes

  • Reply
    Jenny Hartin
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Love the looks of that cheesecake. I would love to win this prize package – in time for my birthday on the 16th!

  • Reply
    Abby | Lace & Lilacs
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    These photographs are perfection, Sarah. Inspiring, as always. XO

  • Reply
    Christiann Koepke
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    This sounds so delicious!! And I entered that giveaway!! Looks awesome. x

  • Reply
    KittyPride
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    The meringue is such a nice touch, light and fluffy on top of that decadent cheese cake!

  • Reply
    ikkinlala
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    This looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Valeria Frejlin
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I just started my own food blog and my cooking interest well passion at this point keeps growing! Would love to win the prize ?

  • Reply
    Heidi Hackett
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I would love to win. If I don’t then I will buy your book anyway!

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Why is your Canadian cover different? I’ve always wondered why people do that. I haven’t bought your book yet – planning it as a Christmas present – which is probably because I was looking for the other picture on the cover. It was also crazy busy in the bookstore when I was there so I couldn’t really poke around.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    This is such a beautiful and seasonal festive cheesecake! I love that thin layer of ganache! Thanks so much for the tips! Cracked tops always get me!

  • Reply
    Anna Rhodes
    Friday, December 9, 2016 at 6:10 am

    You can take a look at these cakes too, they’re also really good! 😉

  • Reply
    Aysegul Sanford
    Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Creme fraiche changed my life and I cannot imagine a better way of using it in a cake. This looks seriously breathtaking.
    Thanks for the giveaway. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Shweta
    Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Awesome, just in time for my Anniversary.

  • Reply
    Tracy Back
    Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Sarah!

    I just discovered you blog from the King Arthur newsletter. Christmas time is my favorite time to bake! Your cookbook will definitely go on my wish list!

  • Reply
    Theresa P
    Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Oh my!! I love baking and your book looks amazing. I’m especially curious to see if your oil cookies measure up to my mom’s. 🙂 I make them every year at Christmas. This year is bittersweet since Mom is no longer here to eat them.

    Blessings to you.

  • Reply
    Sunshine H
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    That looks amazing! I never would have thought to put some meringue on a cheesecake!

  • Reply
    Teresa Salvatore
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I used to bake so much! At all times of the year. My Polish Easter Bread was legendary. Also used to make 20+ varieties of Christmas cookies. My husband is a huge fan of anything with a meringue. New Years resolution will be to bake more!

  • Reply
    Susan Paddock
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Baking is a favorite pastime for me and the two covers of your latest book look amazing!

  • Reply
    Margaret Buttner
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Wow – I would love to win! I’m always looking for fabulous treats to impress my friends with. Thanks

  • Reply
    Sharon Stone
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    One last try
    Why wont this go
    through

  • Reply
    Terry Wong
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    I would love to win. I do not bake. My wife does.

  • Reply
    Stacy
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Love your blog. Big fan of cheesecake. And mint. And Chocolate 🙂

  • Reply
    Allie f
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Wow this book looks amazing! Thanks for this chance.

  • Reply
    Sherri Banks
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    What a wonderful recipe!

  • Reply
    kristine hibbs
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Wow! the book looks divine! love the idea of meringue on cheesecake!! so good!

  • Reply
    Linda Peters
    Monday, December 12, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Would love to win this book, looks amazing.

  • Reply
    Dianne G.
    Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Looks delicious and so decadent with the ganache and meringue!

  • Reply
    Donna
    Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Love Vanilla, cheesecake and wonderful cookbook, delight giveaway. Thanks

  • Reply
    May
    Friday, December 16, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Lovely receipe and looking delicious

  • Reply
    Edwina
    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Wow, I’ve never seen a cheesecake look so good. This is amazing. I really must make it, but I think I’ll need a lot of luck on my side. Yours is perfection.

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