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So yes, it did go on our catering menu. It is very striking to look at. It is relatively small compared to some of the “three-pounds-of-cream-cheese” cheesecakes that were also on our menu, but that makes it great for a small dinner party or brunch. Creating a design on top to fill in, stained-glass style, is also very satisfying artistically. If you feel challenged in that department, Wilton makes templates that press a design into the cake top, and you can just follow the lines with chocolate and fill in like you would a coloring book.
Stained-Glass Cheesecake TorteCrust:
- 2 cups gingersnap crumbs
- 1/2 cup ground almonds or hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light cream or half and half
- 2 whole large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
- 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Chocolate for Borders:
- 1-1/4 cups chocolate chips
- 1 oz. (1 square) baking chocolate
- 2 Tbsp. very soft unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Soft jams or jellies in contrasting colors, at least two different ones
Stir together gingersnap crumbs, almonds or hazelnuts, brown sugar and salt.
Add in melted butter and toss well with a fork. The mixture should hold together when squeezed, but barely.
Press into a 10-inch springform pan, building the edge up about 1-1/2 inches. (A rounded-bottom cup works well to press into place evenly.)
Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for 8 minutes.
Beat cream cheese until softened. Then beat in sugar.
Gradually add light cream or half and half, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
One at a time, add eggs and egg yolks, beating between each addition.
Mix in vanilla.
Pour filling into hot crust. It will look scant and very liquid.
Return the tart to the 350° F. oven and at once lower the temperature to 325° F.
Bake the cheesecake for about 35 minutes, or until firm. Don’t let it dry out or it will crack, but you can fill cracks with the sour cream layer later. Cool on a rack.
When it is completely cool, ice it with a thin layer of plain sour cream (this works best with an offset spatula) and refrigerate, uncovered, to dry and set the frosting.
Chocolate for Borders:
In a double boiler, or over very low heat, melt the chocolate chips and baking chocolate.
When chocolates have melted and combined, stir in the 2 Tbsp. very soft butter, and then 1 egg yolk.
When that is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is hot, stir in sour cream. Let cool to room temperature.
Put in a piping bag fitted with a #5 plain tube.
Squeeze out chocolate lines to divide the top of the cheesecake into even squares or diamonds. Make a spider web or bull’s eye, or emulate Mondrian.
Make the chocolate dividers about 1/4-inch tall by tracing over twice, if necessary. Chill to firm the chocolate.
Fill in the spaces with soft jam by placing small dollops in the center and letting gravity do the rest, or put jam or jelly into a disposable piping bag and snip the very corner at a sharp angle to pipe the jam into place. Nudging with the point of the bag or a toothpick can help ease the jam into tight corners.
Chill until a couple of hours before ready to serve. Best if it comes to room temperature before serving. Serves 6 to 8.