Need an elegant finale to a holiday meal?
By CASEY GODINEZ
Johnson County Community College
Casey Godinez, a student chef at Johnson County Community College, has the answer with her Cappuccino Cheesecake. A graham cracker crust and rich layer of ganache are topped with cream cheese filling and served with a luscious Orange Caramel Sauce.
Have you steered clear of cheesecake because it seemed intimidating?
Godinez says the key to success is taking your time with the cheesecake ingredients. Blend the cream cheese, sugar and flour until the mixture is perfectly smooth and free of lumps. Then add the liquid slowly; if you get lumps in this phase it will be nearly impossible to get them out.
Ganache is a classic mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. The key to a successful ganache is bringing the cream just to the boiling point and letting its heat melt the chocolate. Adding cold cream to melted chocolate results in a mess. Except for that, ganache is a forgiving mixture: its consistency will be determined by the ratio of chocolate to cream. Equal parts of each produce a nice filling or frosting; add more chocolate and the mixture will be thicker.
When it comes time to serve the dessert, Godinez says to do it with flair. Put a line of orange caramel sauce on the serving plate, cut the cheesecake slice in half and put one slice over the caramel sauce. Balance the other on its end, adding some height to the dish. Add some color with a piece of fresh fruit, like a strawberry or orange slice. Garnish with chocolate chunks and whipped cream, and guests will be wowed.
Cappuccino Cheesecake With Orange Caramel Sauce
Makes 12 servings
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces, or about 15 full-sized graham crackers), finely crushed
2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons dark chocolate pieces, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons coffee
2 tablespoons dark rum, divided
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons molasses
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup orange juice
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the cheesecake: In a food processor, combine graham cracker crumbs,
1 cup chocolate pieces, brown sugar and cinnamon. Process until finely ground. Place in bowl; add melted butter and mix until evenly coated. Wrap the removeable bottom of a springform pan in two layers of aluminum foil. Press the graham cracker mixture evenly onto the bottom of pan.
In sauce pan, bring heavy cream just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the remaining dark chocolate pieces to the cream. Do not stir; let stand for 5 minutes, and then whisk until smooth to create a ganache. Whisk in 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur and 1 tablespoon dark rum. Quickly pour the ganache on top of graham cracker crust in the springform pan. Place pan in freezer until ganache is set and loses its shine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a stand or hand-held mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and flour in bowl until there are no lumps. In a separate small bowl, combine coffee powder, remaining rum and coffee liqueur, vanilla and molasses. Stir to dissolve the coffee powder. Add to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined, using spatula to scrape sides of mixing bowl. Stir in eggs; two at a time. Pour cream cheese mixture over ganache. Bake for 35 minutes or until cheesecake no longer jiggles.
For the sauce: In saucepan with high sides, combine sugar and water. Slowly simmer until the sugar turns amber in color. Remove from heat and slowly add orange juice. The mixture will bubble heavily, so make sure your saucepan has high sides. Stir to dissolve any sugar crystals. Return sauce to heat; reduce until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Serve cheesecake with a drizzle of sauce.
Cheesecake, per serving: 620 calories (55 percent from fat), 39 grams total fat (17 grams saturated), 155 milligrams cholesterol, 63 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 294 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Sauce, per serving (1 teaspoon): 34 calories (15 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), 1 milligram cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, trace sodium, trace dietary fiber.
Recipe and food styling by Casey Godinez, 20, a fourth-semester student in Johnson County Community Colleges hospitality management program. She is an apprentice at Tellers in Lawrence. Cooking 101 is a bimonthly column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The recipe, food styling and photography involve culinary students and instructors in the Johnson County Community College hospitality management classes.