Okay, let’s pick up where we left off yesterday. As we recall, we had the almond dough in one big ball, sitting in the refrigerator for an overnight chilling. That means we need to roll it out, place it in a pan of some sort, then think about making the filling.
From the name, you can see that we based this on the Torteau de Chèvre recipe that we posted last year. For those who’ve tried it, you found out that it’s a really, really good cheesecake. Light, with just the right amount of sweetness; we are actually hoping to maintain the best of that cake, but add our favorite flavor: chocolate.
Makes a 9-inch cheesecake
Eggs: pasture raised, of course. For the cocoa, use a really dark Dutch-processed cocoa to make the most impressive-looking cheesecake. Dutch-processed cocoa is darker and less bitter than traditional American-style cocoa; both of these traits are perfect for this cake. We use Valrhona cocoa for this and have to say it is a really intensely-flavored cocoa. For the goat cheese, we use Black Mesa Ranch cheese that we get through our CSA. Not only is their cheese excellent, they treat their goats well. And that’s important.
Procedure in detail:
Prepare pan. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment, and then butter that. Is all that really necessary? Especially if your springform is non-stick? Think about it this way: you went all-out on the ingredients, and are investing your time to make a great cheesecake; do you want to take the chance to save a few minutes and cents? I see you’re reaching for the butter and parchment — good answer.
Roll out crust. This crust is soft and sticky, so we placed the ball between two pieces of waxed paper before rolling. Then we rolled, and rolled, turning it over from time to time, until it was large enough for the pan. By then it was really soft, so we put it in the fridge to chill for 15 to 20 minutes before putting it in the pan.
Refrigerate. This crust is so soft, we covered it with plastic and put it back into the fridge until we were ready, which also has the advantage of clearing a bit of counter space.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rack in the middle position in the oven.
Separate eggs. If you haven’t already done so, separate your eggs. We always separate them, one by one, into a small bowl, then put the whites into our mixing bowl. That way, if a yolk breaks, we haven’t contaminated all the whites (egg whites will not whip if there is yolk mixed in).
Combine sugar and cocoa. In another small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cocoa.You can mix them together if you want, but there is no real need.
Whip egg whites. Using the whisk attachment on a mixer, whip the egg whites and salt on medium-high until soft peaks form. Now, with the mixer still running, gradually add the small amount of cocoa and sugar. This will turn the egg whites a nice brown color, so that, later, when you’re folding in the egg whites, you won’t see streaks if you don’t get it perfect. Whip until the whites hold firm peaks, then gently transfer to another bowl and set aside.
Make batter. In the mixer bowl that held the egg whites (no need to clean), combine egg yolks, cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, and goat cheese. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on medium, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Fold egg whites into the batter. This is it. This is what makes for a light cheesecake, folding in the egg whites. We like to fold in the whites in three, nearly equal additions. Scrape about 1/3 of the egg whites onto the batter, fold in as carefully as you can, then the next 1/3, and the final third, folding as gently and carefully as you can.
Pour batter into shell. Take out the tart shell from the refrigerator, pour and scrape in the batter, and level.
Bake. Place the springform pan onto a baking sheet, lined with a silicone mat. This does two things: it insulates the bottom so it doesn’t bake too fast, and catches drips of butter that leak out. Bake for 15 minutes.
Lower temperature. Now drop the temperature of the oven to 350°F and continue baking another 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.
Cool. Place on rack, and cool at least 15 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Then allow torteau to cool to room temperature before removing parchment from the bottom and placing on a serving plate.
Serve. And enjoy.
This cake turned out really well. To start with, we weren’t really sure how we would add chocolate (melted or in the form of cocoa), nor exactly how much. We basically settled on using 1/2 cup of cocoa because we knew that was sufficient for a pound cake, but then we knew that we’d have to add a bit more sugar or we’d have a bitter cake. So, we went with 1/4 cup additional sugar. When we tasted the cake, we knew we’d hit it right. It was intensely chocolate-flavored, but not too sweet, just what we wanted. Then, we had the issue of how would the additional sugar and cocoa affect the texture. Just to be on the safe side, we added an additional egg so that the batter wouldn’t be too dry. That seemed fine, too. We give it five stars.
Now, the other component of this cake is the flaky almond tart crust. We found it a bit difficult to work with, not too hard, but just something you need to watch. It also slumped a bit while baking, but that turned out to be perfect, since it stopped slumping right at the height of the cake. The name of the crust implied it would be flaky, but we wouldn’t call it flaky; it’s more of a shortbread-style crust, but not so shortbread-y that it falls apart. Instead, it made a sturdy crust, just about right for this cake. The almond is a perfect foil for the intense chocolate. Five stars for the crust, too.
We guess that makes this a ten-star dessert!