I have a confession to make. I don’t really like cheesecake. I mean, I do—if you put a cheesecake in front of me I’ll eat it and I’ll like it—but as a rule, they will never never be my first, second, or even third choice of desserts. There is one cheesecake, a family recipe, that’s the exception to this rule; I’ll just say that it involves alcohol and leave it at that. I’m sure it’ll appear on here one day. Anyways, not only do I not love eating cheesecakes, I particularly dislike making them. I find it boring, for some reason. I find it hard to be creative in their presence. But when someone I love requests one, who am I to say no?
This Monday was my coworkers’, supervisors’, and friends’ (all the same person) last day at the company. The woman loves her some cheesecake and so I, of course, obliged. Months ago I had the chocolate malt cake at Momofuku milk bar and have kind of wanted to get in on that action for a while. I love malt. Malts trump shakes, anytime. Whoppers are terribly, terribly underrated. The malt cake from Momofuku is one hell of an undertaking, but this baby seemed much more simple. Since I had just happened to see a bag of malt powder at Kalustyan’s a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go for it.
I’ve decided that, for me, the addition of sour cream to a cheesecake batter goes a long, long way. Sour cream adds a bit more tang and distracts from the inherent heavy sweetness of cheesecake. Traditional cheesecakes can be so dense and one-note, but not if you add sour cream; I may make it a rule that I only make cheesecakes that contain it from now on. In this particular cake, I felt like the tangy sour cream went perfectly with the mild, creamy milk chocolate.
This cheesecake has a few steps, but none of them are difficult. You have to melt the chocolate and then steep the malt powder in boiling cream. Easy Peasy. Honestly, since it’s milk chocolate, I don’t even feel like you need to bother with a double boiler for the chocolate-melting step; just make sure the heat is as low as possible, and keep stirring. In the end, I thought this was a really great milk chocolate cheesecake. The malt wasn’t as predominant as I wanted it to be; I could only really taste it if I concentrated. If I was to make it again, I would probably up the amount of malt. BUT, if you like subtle, and you want a creamy dreamy milk chocolate cheesecake, this is a good way to go.
Milk Chocolate Malt Cheesecake
From the Essential Baker by Carole Bloom (via Epicurious)
The water bath keeps the cake moist and keeps the top from cracking. Listen to me. Wrap your springform pan in foil VERY well. You don’t want water getting in there, like maybe it did for me…maybe…Hey man, it happens to the best of us.
10 oz shortbread cookies
1/3 c walnuts
2 T granulated sugar
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
14 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c malted milk powder
2 lb cream cheese, softened
1 c granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs
1 c sour cream
2 t vanilla extract
For Decorating: Ganache, or melted chocolate, or whipped cream, or malt balls, or all of them, all at the same time.
- Heat oven to 300°F. Grease a 9″ springform pan and wrap TWICE with heavy duty aluminum foil
- Combine the cookies, walnuts and 2 T sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground
- Add the melted butter to the cookies and pulse until moistened
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and about half-way up the sides of the springform pan. Chill the crust until you’re ready for it
- In a heave bottomed pan, melt the milk chocolate over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth
- In another saucepan, heat the cream until boiling, turn off the heat and whisk in the malt powder. Let steep, covered, for 10 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until fluffy
- Add the sugar and beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl sporadically
- Add the eggs to the cream cheese, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined
- Add the malted, strained cream to the batter and blend thoroughly
- Add the melted chocolate and blend until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl
- Pour the batter into the crust and smooth the top
- Place the springform pan in another, larger pan and place in the oven
- Pour the boiling water into the outer pan, until it reaches about half-way up the springform
- Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the top is set, but jiggles slightly
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack, remove the foil and cool completely
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Run a thin knife around the edges before unmolding
- Decorate!! Do whatever you want! I used ganache dollops and malted milk balls, but you could just as easily drizzle chocolate or mound whipped cream or crush those malt balls and sprimkle them on the melted chocolate or the whipped cream….just have fun!