Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two July 4th Summers: Sinful Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake and Homemade Apple Pie

July 4th is always a time of celebration, whether it be sitting on a crowded lawn listening to a Pops concert (in this case, the Boston Pops at the Esplanade) or indoor grilling in a high-rise apartment. This posts contains two summer's worth of desserts: 2009 was the deep dark chocolate cheesecake, while 2010 was the homemade apple pie.

WARNING: baking this cake may cause people to stalk you begging for more. It is a sinfully addictive cheesecake.

Everybody loves chocolate, and a cheesecake is a sure way to a person's heart. Combining the two? Priceless. While there are those who may not be a fan of one of the two separately, they are undeniably amazing together.

This cake had a double function: it was 4th of July cake as well as a birthday cake. The flavor of this cake is outstanding, and I would highly recommend making it the day before so as the flavors will become more enhanced after a longing chilling period. The chocolate ganache topping is a lifesaver for those unsightly cracks that cheesecakes tend to get.

BUT I have finally found the perfect solution (this particular cheesecake was prior to said revelation, so the topping did help). After the baking period is done, turn OFF the oven and leave the cake for another 2 hours. I used this recently and it was the perfect solution!

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit via Epicurious (hands down one of my first go-to websites for recipes!) The curls it calls for were more like shavings on my cake, but that's a trivial detail anyways, haha! Best part about this day? Dressing up like baking Lady Liberties!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake


  • 24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted


  • 1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
  • 4 large eggs


  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Bittersweet chocolate curls (garnish)


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling:
Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.

For topping:
Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.

Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Top with chocolate curls. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.

So this pie was AMAZING! Having never made an apple pie (crazy, right?) I became very excited at the prospect of finally having the chance to make one. As it was an indoor grilling party, it meant I could make a fresh apple pie. Yet honestly the flavor was far more intense and irresistible the following day.

Watching the Boston Pops on the TV was a lot of fun. It was also far less crowded and much warmer than actually being present on the Esplanade. We then watched the fireworks from the balcony of said apartment while enjoying wine and pie. I couldn't have envisioned a better way to celebrate our independence.

Homemade Apple Pie
Serves 8


  • 1 1/2 (15-ounce) packages refrigerated piecrusts, divided or recipe for a Double-Crust Pastry
  • 6 cups peeled, sliced cooking apple
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Roll half of pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in a 9-inch pieplate; set aside
  2. Combine apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and next 4 ingredients. Spoon over apple mixture, tossing gently. Spoon filling evenly into pastry shell, and dot with butter.
  3. Roll remaining pastry to 1/8-inch thickness; transfer to top of pie. Trim off excess pastry along edges. Fold edges under and crimp.
  4. Cut slits in top crust for steam to escape. Brush pastry lightly with beaten egg yolk. If desired, combine 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon to sprinkle on pie.
  5. Cover edges of pastry with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 50 more minutes.

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