ASPIRING STUDENT CHEF FINALIST: BILLIE UNDERWOOD
Elegant Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake
"It's a unique dish and I doubt a lot of people will have had this dish before meaning they may really like it and want more of it."
20-22 Oreo cookies, about 1 ½ cups crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 lb. cream cheese, (2 (8 oz.) pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese) softened
1 (14 oz.) can Borden’s Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 whole eggs
3 oz. Amaretto liqueur
4 oz. chocolate chips, melted (use a brand with 60% cocoa)
Whole berries for garnish
1 cup homemade sweetened crème fraiche
1 oz. chocolate chips, melted for chocolate comb.
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form cake pan. Line the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper.
2. Combine Oreo cookie crumbs with melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared cake pan and up the sides ½-inch. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
3. Combine cream cheese with condensed milk in a mixer until smooth.
4. At low speed, add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add Amaretto and melted chocolate and mix just until uniformly distributed, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. (Avoid beating air into the batter by using a low speed setting.)
5. Pour into prepared crust. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes in centre of oven. The top should look slightly dry with the centre a little more wet and giggly when moved. Turn off oven and leave cake to cool in the oven for one hour. Take care not to over bake or the cake will be dry and heavy. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
6. Drizzle melted chocolate onto a piece of kitchen parchment paper in a tic-tac-toe design or a Spanish comb design, chill until serving time, then carefully remove each design from the parchment paper.
7. Remove spring-form from cake. Peel off parchment paper. Slice using a thin knife dipped in warm water. Top with sweetened crème fraiche and set the chocolate comb upright in the crème fraiche. Garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs.