Another Sugar High Friday (#16) and the theme this time around is “Recipe for Love”—so apropos, given Valentine’s Day is only a few days away. Thanks to Jennifer of Taste
Everything Once for building a theme around aphrodisiacs.
Legend has it that a Persian ruler once had a handsome and excellent war-horse. The beast was considered to be fearless and fiery, except for one thing: when the stallion detected the scent of cardamom his fieriness turned from war to amour. The king decided to end such behaviours and have the grooms neuter the horse. The queen found out about this and suggested the grooms simply follow the king’s lead in such matters and drink 20 cups of coffee a day…
Coffee is not an aphrodisiac. Check.
...but cardamom is. BIG check.
In the Near East, many believe those tiny little seeds have potent, amorous effects on people…perhaps this is why cardamom is so often paired with coffee. But not today…not for today’s sweet theme.
I’ll admit to first thinking of chocolate (well, I always think of chocolate), but something slightly out of the norm. And then I remembered a much-requested dessert—my winter white cheesecake: a sinfully wondrous sweet—a white chocolate cheesecake with a hint of cardamom.
My starting point came from The Dessert Lover’s Cookbook. During the past I-don’t-know-how-many years I’ve tinkered and toyed with it and eventually came up with some thing I’m happy to call my own (or at least my variant)—a pie (yes, I subscribe to cheesecakes being pies and not cakes) that’s decadent, with an off-white, creamy and lusciously soft filling topped by a slightly boozy, oozy white chocolate topping. I added cardamom for one purely selfish reason: I don’t really like white chocolate: the spice’s astringency cut through white chocolate’s sweet richness, adding a lovely scent and flavour.
So, is this dish an aphrodisiac? Certain elements fit, but it's up to the eater to experience, isn't it? One could argue that an eight-inch dessert might be a bit much, but it just means there's more fun to be had.
Winter White Cheesecake
175g graham wafer crumbs
60ml melted butter
2t vanilla sugar
Filling (all at room temp)
200g white chocolate shards
80ml double cream
300g marscapone cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs, separated
4t vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
4 cardamom pods’ worth of seeds, ground finely
100g white chocolate shards
40ml double cream
2T crème de cacao
Putting it together:
Prepare one 8” diameter, 2” high springform pan
Combine all crust ingredients together and press firmly into springform, leaving about ¼” of the side’s top uncrumbed. Then preheat oven to 325F.
For the filling:
Melt white chocolate in a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, then add cream and stir until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
Beat egg whites into soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat marscapone with vanilla, cardamom and salt until soft and fluffy. Then add one yolk at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in white chocolate until fully incorporated. With a spatula, carefully fold in the egg whites so as to not lose their airiness—it doesn’t have to be fully, fully incorporated—a little bit of streaky white is okay.
Pour filling into springform pan and bake until the sides have set and the top is slightly jiggly—somewhere between 45 and 75 minutes. I usually start checking at the 45 minute point and decide how much longer it needs—usually it’s done in about 55-60 minutes, but a couple of times it did take longer.
Turn off the heat and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for an hour. The cake will rise and then fall.
Remove from oven and let cool in a draft-free place until it gets to room temperature. If you are making this in advance, you can tightly wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge until you are ready to pour on the topping—the cheesecake can keep like this for a couple of days.
For the Topping
Melt white chocolate in a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, then add cream and liqueur and stir until smooth. Pour overtop the cheesecake and let set in fridge for several hours.
Before serving, let stand at room temp for about an hour.
tags: Cardamom Cheesecake SHF16 White chocolate