Spring is here and love is in the air! My dear friend Rachel is getting married in just a few weeks to the fabulous Dave, and as the matron of honor, I had the privilege of throwing a little wedding shower for her on the weekend. It's pretty easy to please ladies with chocolate, so I served it in several forms, the only deviation being some mini strawberry shortcakes.
These desserts, along with some sparkling white sangria (one of my favorite summer drinks) kept the bride-to-be and her friends happy and a good time was had by all!
A chocolate-themed shower is a no-brainer. If only everything about being a matron of honor was that simple.
How will I decide what to do with my hair?
Where will I find the perfect earrings?
And that upcoming speech? Yikes!
The first cherries of the season-I could eat dozens of these simple sweet treats.
So, for that cheesecake recipe. At first I was going to make a standard chocolate cheesecake, but as I was in the process of putting it together, I decided to add some chai tea and spices to make it a little more exciting. My favorite cupcake in Montreal is chocolate chai and it's a combination made in heaven.
The chai and spices are added only to the topping, so they are not too overpowering. Also, I don't like crust that goes all the way up the sides, but if you do, just one and a half times the recipe for the crust and press it up the sides.
Chocolate Chai Cheesecake
Makes a 10-inch round. Serves 12 generously, 16 modestly.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
500 grams cream cheese (2 pkg Philly), room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup 35% cream
250 grams semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped or in chips
3 large eggs, room temperature
for the topping:
1 cup chocolate
1 cup 35 % cream
1 chai tea bag (I used Stash Chai Spice)
three green cardamom pods, seeds remove and reserved, shell discarded
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon whole mace
1/4 tonka bean (optional)
1/2 long pepper (optinal)
Preheat oven to 350F.
For the crust:
Combine all four ingredients and mix well. Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of a 10 inch spring form cheesecake pan.
Use the bottom of a water glass to press crust down and pack firm. Bake 7 minutes and cool.
For the filling:
Melt chocolate and cream slowly in a bain marie. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Cool slightly.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in a mixer until creamy. Add vanilla and mix well. With the paddle attachment, slowly mix in melted chocolate mixture and combine well.
Add eggs, one at a time until they are all incorporated. Do not overbeat.
Pour mixture over crust in the spring form pan and place on the middle rack in oven. Bake 40-50 minutes, until the middle is set. Remove from oven and cool completely.
For the glaze:
In a bain marie, gently bring the cream to a boil. Add chai tea bag and let steep for about 10 minutes. Remove and discard bag.
Add chocolate to cream and melt slowly. Combine all spices in a spice grinder and pulse until finely ground.
Add to melted chocolate. Stir well. Pour over cooled cheesecake and chill until set.
Garnish with shaved chocolate, fresh fruit, chocolate covered coffee beans or topping of your choice.
Enjoy! This cheesecake keeps well for several day as long as it is refrigerated and covered with cling wrap.