Cheesecake with dark chocolate and sea salt for my love
Today is Valentine's day! Our love story started because Vincenzo made a hot chocolate cake that I loved. I could tell how much he cared for others through his food. This is something that I adore about him. I also enjoy making him his favorite dessert to show how much I care.
This cheesecake recipe has evolved over the years to include a hint of orange and a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache (almost as thick as the cheesecake). I top it with chopped pistachios and flaky sea salt. This recipe is a keeper for us.
Vincenzo is always cooking for others, so I make this whenever I feel like he needs a special treat from me. The longer it sits, the better it tastes too. This is not a traditional style cheesecake, so no need to use a water bath or even a cheesecake pan. Simply bake it in any round pie or tart pan that you have. The cake will keep up to a week in the refrigerator - if it lasts that long:)
Happy Valentine's day everyone. From our kitchen to yours!
Sheryl and Vincenzo
Cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache, pistachios, and sea salt
For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
½ cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter and mix well. Pat into a 9- to 10-inch pie plate or tart pan. You can also use a cheesecake pan, but it is not needed with this recipe.
Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
For the filling:
2 containers (8 ounces each) regular cream cheese (we use Daiya lactose-free cream cheese)
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. orange zest
In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and sugar until well blended (use a hand or stand mixer). Next add the vanilla, eggs, and orange zest and mix well until creamy and smooth.
Add the cream cheese mixture and spread to the edges of the graham cracker crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 55 minutes until the top is slightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Warm ¼ cup of almond milk with ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to boil. Take the milk off the heat and ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Stir well until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is creamy. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and stir well.
Spread the ganache over the top of the warm cheesecake and top with ½ cup of chopped pistachios, roasted almonds, or another favorite topping. Add ½ tsp. of flaky sea salt (optional), to taste.
Place in the refrigerator to cool well. Chill covered for at least 6 hours prior to serving.