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Hazelnut and chocolate cheesecake

Recipe from: 3 December 2010

Ingredients 14
Servings 8


  • For the biscuit base:
  • 70
    whole hazelnuts
  • 200
    chocolate digestive biscuits
  • 100
    soft butter
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 125
  • 20
    powdered gelatin
  • 500
    cream cheese
  • 250
    castor sugar
  • 2
    Franjelico hazelnut liqueur
  • 5
    vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod
  • 250
  • For the topping:
  • 8
    squares of dark chocolate


50 mins
Put the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and toss for a minute or two over a medium flame, or until lightly toasted. Wrap the nuts in a clean tea towel and rub them between your palms to remove some of the skins (don't worry if bits of skin remain here and there).
Break up the chocolate digestives and place them, with the hazelnuts, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or a liquidiser. Process to coarse crumbs, but don't over-process, which will make the chocolate sticky. Place in a bowl, add the soft butter and stir well to combine.

Press the mixture evenly onto the base of a non-stick 24-cm spring-form cake tin. Place in the fridge while you make the topping.

Put the water in a little heat-proof bowl or ramekin and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside for a few minutes, or until the gelatin has sponged. Put the bowl in a pot of simmering water (the water should come half-way up the sides) and stir occasionally as the gelatin melts. When the liquid is clear, remove the bowl from the hot water and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and Franjelico in a large bowl, using a whisk or rotary beater. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the black seeds with the blade of a knife, and add to the mixture. Add the warm gelatin mixture and stir well to combine. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold half the cream into the cream cheese mixture, and then fold in the other half. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and tap the tin gently on the counter top to release any bubbles. Place in the fridge for four hours to set.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Place in a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle (or make a piping bag from greaseproof paper; a syringe will also do). Scribble the chocolate all over the cake.

If there's any chocolate left over, scribble a few more patterns on a piece of greaseproof paper, allow to set, peel off and arrange on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is cold and set. Release the cake from its tin (see Cook's Notes, below). Slice into portions (see Cook's Notes, below) and serve with a few extra toasted hazelnuts.

Cook's Notes
  • There are various methods of loosening a gelatine-set dessert from its mould. Professional chefs use a blowtorch, which is briefly flicked over the outside of the tin, but this is a risky business, as a few seconds too long can liquefy the outside of the cheesecake and, besides, it's useless if you're using a plastic jelly mould. A better way is to dip a kitchen cloth in boiling water, and press it to outside of the cold tin for a few seconds. But the best way of all, I've found, is to use a hot pack designed for soothing acheing muscles. If you don't have a Happy Hugger, here's how to make one yourself. (I keep one of these in my kitchen drawer for the sole purpose of loosening jellies!). Steal a long cotton sock from someone's drawer. Fill it with rice or barley, and tie a firm knot in the open end. Place the sock in a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes, or until very warm to the touch. Press the hot pack around the edges of the gelatine mould, for 30 seconds at a time, moving it around the edges as necessary. At the same time, release the spring-form lever in small increments.
  •  When you cut the cheesecake, use a hot knife (heated over a flame, or in a bowl of boiling water) to slice through the chocolate scribbles, then switch to a cool knife to cut through the rest.

Reprinted with permission of Scrumptious South Africa. To visit Scrumptious South Africa's blog, click here.



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