White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

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Happy 2016! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and New Year. It has been quite a busy last couple months for the hubby and I (in a good way of course). Between multiple holiday travels for family and vacation traveling to Cancun, we were absolutely spent and decided to stay home in the comfort of our fireplace and television for New Years. There we spent the majority of the day catching up on season 5 of Game of Thrones and eating Chinese takeout. We celebrated the New Year – mind you at 10pm, not midnight cause that’s wayyyy too late for us – with some champagne and one of our favorite desserts, White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis.

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This is a dessert that I usually make for special occasions. This cheesecake has a creamy, yet light texture with hints of white chocolate in the background…and dare I say it is healthier than most cheesecakes out there! To create this unique consistency I use both part-skim Ricotta and American Neufchatel, which is made from milk and cream. It contains less fat and a slightly higher moisture content than its cream cheese cousin. For the crust, I crush both graham crackers and slivered almonds together to create a nutty flavor to compliment the filling.

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You can enjoy this slice of Heaven as is or go a step further into decadence by drizzling a warm homemade Raspberry Coulis over the top. Either way this cheesecake is a satisfying dessert you can enjoy before OR after your New Year’s resolutions come into play.

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To create the cheesecake filling for this recipe you will need American Neufchatel, part-skim Ricotta, high quality white chocolate bar, Splenda, extra-large eggs, flour, and vanilla extract.

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For the crust you will need slivered almonds, butter, and graham crackers. (Sometimes if I’m in a hurry I will cheat and buy 2 packages of the pre-made graham cracker crusts and then crumble them up into the springform pan. Obviously those are the days that I don’t include the almonds.)DSC_0332

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is create the crust. Grind the almonds and graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Move mixture to a large bowl and add melted butter to graham cracker mixture. Mix until well combined.

Wipe down (clean) the food processor to use for the filling.

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Spray your 9in springform pan with Pam and then firmly press the graham cracker mixture along the bottom of the pan, making sure to extend the mixture 1/3 up the sides of the springform pan (the bottom side of a drinking glass or measuring cup is great for this).

Bake the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the cheesecake.

Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F.

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Now time to make the luscious filling.

NOTE: There are 2 different ways to make the filling…with a mixture or with a food processor. I prefer the food processor method since it provides a more creamy consistency and also yields less mess. The only drawback is that this method requires that you have a large food processor of 12 cup cups or more. So I want to show both in case you don’t have a large food processor available to use.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler until it is fully liquid then remove and set aside to cool sightly.

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MIXER: With an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the neufchâtel and ricotta cheese on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy. Next beat in the Splenda, scraping down the edges with a rubber spatula.

FOOD PROCESSOR: To the food processor, add the neufchâtel and ricotta cheese. Purée until shiny, light and fluffy; about 1-2 minutes. Add the Splenda and blend until fully combined and shiny, about 45 more seconds.

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Time for the eggs!

MIXER: Blend in each whole egg and egg yolk, one at a time, on medium-low until incorporated. Once again scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

FOOD PROCESSOR: With the food processor running, add in the whole eggs and yolks, one at a time, until fully incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the sides of bowl when necessary.

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Now comes the flour and the vanilla extract! I like to put a tiny amount of flour in my cheesecakes to help avoid cracking from overbaking; call it crack insurance! Basically the starch molecules in the flour will settle in between the egg molecules during baking, which will help to prevent the egg proteins from over-coagulating. Adding a little flour also allows me to not have to use a bain marie – feel free to use one though if that is what you are used to.

MIXER: Blend the vanilla extract and the flour in with your mixer on low until combined.

FOOD PROCESSOR: Pulse in vanilla extract then flour until combined.

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MIXER: Slowly pour the melted white chocolate into the batter, mixing until combined.

FOOD PROCESSOR: Drizzle in the melted white chocolate into the batter while pulsing until combined. Note that when using this method the batter will appear slightly thinner than with the mixer…no worries, that actually will yield a nice creamy texture.

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Pour cheesecake filling into the springform pan containing the par-baked crust, then lightly tap the pan against the counter to draw any air bubbles to the surface. You can pop these with a fork or knife.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and cover the top of the pan tightly with a piece of foil. The foil will cover the cheesecake for the first 50 minutes of baking. Using the foil also helps to keep the cheesecake moist and prevents a dry tough skin from forming on top of the cheesecake.

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Bake the cheesecake (at 275 degrees F) on the lower middle rack of the oven with the foil on for 50 minutes. After the first 50 minutes of baking, remove the foil from the cheesecake and continue to cook in the oven for 30-50 minutes longer, until the cheesecake is set about 2 inches from the edge but the center is still wobbly (about 3-4 inches of wobble in the center – like Jello). Do not overbake! Start checking center doneness around the 1h15min mark by lightly tapping a wooden spoon against the side of pan. An even more accurate way to check for doneness is with an instant read thermometer. When the cheesecake is ready the temperature in the center should read 145-150 degrees F.

The total cooking time of the cheesecake is about 1h20m-1h40m depending on your oven.

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Once the cheesecake is done, remove it from the oven and set aside on the stovetop – on a cooling rack – to cool to almost room temperature, 1-2 hours. While the cheesecake is cooling, run a paring knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan.

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Once cooled take the cheesecake, which will still be in the springform pan, wrap it tightly in seran wrap and transfer it to the refrigerator to set overnight (6-8 hours at the very least). VERY IMPORTANT STEP!

Always take the cheesecake out of the fridge about an hour before serving to take the chill off. Store the cheesecake covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator when eating within a couple days and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap AND foil when storing in the freezer. For long term storage, I actually cut the cheesecake into individual portions and store each slice in both Saran wrap and then foil for protection in the freezer. Thaw each slice overnight and you’re good to go!

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Making the Raspberry Coulis is very easy and doesn’t need to be exact, as some people like their sauce to be sweeter while others like myself enjoy a more sour citrus taste. To make, place 6-8 ounces of fresh raspberries in a small saucepan with 16 ounces of  whole strawberries (with the stems removed), 1/4 cup Splenda, 1/3 cup water, zest of one lemon, zest of 1/2 an orange and the squeeze of half a lemon and half an orange. Bring to a boil then allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 10 minutes so the fruit starts to break down. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to slightly cool for a couple minutes before puréeing it in a blender. Make sure to taste the puree in case you need to make adjustments, then pour it in a container to allow to cool. Once cooled add freshly cut strawberries to the sauce and store in the fridge until needed. And that’s all to it!

Enjoy!

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) organic graham crackers
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 4-6 ounces quality white chocolate
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages American Neufchatel cheese
  • 10 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 4 whole extra-large eggs
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 ounces raspberries
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, plus 8-10 cut fresh strawberries to add to finished sauce
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • juice from ½ orange
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grind the almonds and graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Move mixture to a large bowl and add melted butter to graham cracker mixture. Mix until well combined.
  4. Lightly spray a 9in springform pan with Pam. Pour the graham cracker mixture into the pan and spread over the bottom and ⅓ up the sides of pan. (Use a drinking glass or measuring cup to help if needed)
  5. Bake the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the cheesecake.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F.
  7. Wipe down (clean) the food processor to use for the filling.
  8. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Remove and set aside to cool slightly
  9. To the food processor, add the neufchâtel and ricotta cheese. Purée until shiny, light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  10. Add sugar and blend until combined and shiny, about 45 more seconds.
  11. With the food processor running, add in whole eggs and yolks, one at a time. Scrape down the sides of bowl after each egg.
  12. Pulse in vanilla extract then flour until combined.
  13. Drizzle in the melted white chocolate into the batter while pulsing until combined
  14. Pour cheesecake filling onto crust in the pan, then lightly tap the pan against the counter to draw any air bubbles to the surface. You can pop these with a fork or knife.
  15. Place the pan on a baking sheet and cover the top of the pan tightly with a piece of foil for the first 50 minutes of baking.
  16. Bake the cheesecake (at 275 degrees F) on the lower middle rack of the oven with the foil on for 50 minutes. After the first 50 minutes of baking, remove the foil from the cheesecake and continue to cook in the oven for 30-50 minutes longer, until the cheesecake is set about 2 inches from the edge but the center is still wobbly (about 3-4 inches of wobble in the center - like Jello). Do not overbake! Start checking center doneness around the 1h15min mark by lightly tapping a wooden spoon against the side of pan. An even more accurate way to check for doneness is with an instant read thermometer. When the cheesecake is ready the temperature in the center should read 145-150 degrees F. (The total cooking time of the cheesecake is about 1h20m-1h40m at 275 degrees F, depending on your oven.)
  17. Once the cheesecake is done, remove from oven and set aside on the stovetop on a cooling rack to cool to (almost) room temperature 1-2 hours. During cooling phase run a paring knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan.
  18. Transfer cheesecake, still in the springform pan, to the refrigerator to set overnight (6-8 hours at the very least). VERY IMPORTANT.
  19. SERVING: Remove cheesecake from refrigerator about an hour before serving to take the chill off.
  20. When storing for a couple days - store cheesecake, covered, in the refrigerator. Any moisture (condensation) on top can be easily wiped with a napkin.
  21. When storing longterm - store wrapped in seran wrap AND foil in the freezer.
  22. Raspberry Coulis - place 6-8 ounces of fresh raspberries in small saucepan with 16 ounces whole hulled strawberries, ¼ cup Splenda, ⅓ water, zest of one lemon, zest of ½ an orange and the squeeze of half a lemon and half an orange. Bring to boil then allow mixture to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes so fruit starts to break down. Remove from heat and allow mixture to slightly cool for a couple minutes before puréeing in a blender. Check taste then pour puree in air tight container and store in refrigerator

 

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2 thoughts on “White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

  1. alex

    is a water bath not necessary while baking the cheesecake?
    when using ricotta cheese, how does that differ in taste and texture compared to cheesecakes made with cream cheese and sour cream? and should all ingredients be at room temperature before use?

    Reply
    1. Crys Rappoli Radin Post author

      Hi Alex, What great questions! I’ll tackle each one at a time 🙂

      For the first, the quick answer is…it depends 🙂
      So cheesecakes are basically custards and because of the egg composition, custards tend to be very finicky. Too little heat and the custard won’t set right, too much heat and the eggs will over-coagulate, dry up, crack and all that other yucky stuff. The purpose of immersing in a water bath is to cook the delicate custard slowly, basically steaming and insulating it from the direct heat of the oven. However, adding a little flour to the egg mixture “toughens up” the custard and, as a result, the cheesecake is less susceptible to cracking. Flour works by the starch molecules getting in between the egg proteins and preventing them from over-coagulating, which in turn makes them less sensitive to the oven’s dry heat. I like to call it a little bit of added insurance and it’s a method that I use with most of my cheesecake recipes. I do know a lot of chefs though who use both flour and a water bath for their cheesecakes just because that’s what they’ve always done. Because of the molecule interference that flour has, cheesecakes made using this method have a slightly sturdier texture, which is a texture that I prefer. Baking the cheesecake at a very low temperature and using ricotta cheese (like I do) helps to combat the firmness and keep the custard nice and creamy! I always say, more so than a water bath, the 3 biggest culprits of cheesecake cracking are…overbeating the custard and creating air bubbles, baking the cheesecake at too high a heat and having too long a cooking time.

      As for the ricotta, I like to add ricotta cheese to lighten the cheesecake’s texture. In general cheesecakes made with all ricotta cheese (typical in Italy) are fluffier and lighter in texture whereas cheesecakes made with all cream cheese (traditional American method) are more dense in texture. So I’ve found that using both gives me the best of both words…and the combination works beautifully together.

      Lastly, yes you are correct. All ingredients should be at room temperature (or as close as you can get). This will ensure that everything blends together evenly and will attribute to a smoother consistency all around. Hope this helps 🙂

      Reply

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