Chocolate, cheese, and Cabernet. An Oscar spread worthy of all-time decadence. I mean really what is better than stuffing your face with rich cheese and chocolate while watching slender starlets and hunky leading men walk down the red carpet in custom haute couture. Don’t worry you can wash that guilt away with another glass of wine.
By now I’m sure you are aware of my adoration of cheese, wine, and chocolate. And movies. And I love combining my favorites. Actually whenever food is featured in movies I can’t resist falling in love. I still love dipping my Oreos in peanut butter ever since I saw The Parent Trap in third grade. (And it also took me like five years to realize that Lindsay Lohan didn’t have a twin) I think my favorite food association in a movie is a toss up between the cakes and champagne tower in Marie Antoinette (also those clothes, shoes, and jewels!) and the Heavyweights junk food scene where the campers go crazy with chocolate syrup and other messy treats.
Cheesecakes are the pinnacle of decadence for me. I can’t think of anything richer than creamy, thick but airy cheesecake. This spread already had enough sweet nibbles, so I figured I’d savor it up a bit. In comes the gorgonzola! A cheese that is at once tangy, velvety, and a tad bit funky.
But really, the cream cheese is always the star of cheesecake. What drives the texture of cheesecake anyway?
The cream cheese: the protein from the milk is cooked gently in the low temperature causing them to link loosely to form a firm but smooth texture. The eggs: the yolk emulsifies the mixture while the egg white strengthens the structure and thickens the overall cheesecake. The starch: for savory cheesecakes, a thicker, sturdier structure is generally desired. Starch is the key to making this happen. As the starch granules swell, the cheesecake batter thickens further. The heat: a low temperature is required to keep the cheesecake from curdling. The starch allows a slightly higher heat to be used because the starch granules prevent the proteins from coagulating too quickly by physically getting in the way.
Now let’s get down to business!
Also pictured in this spread, chocolate and Gouda cookies, smoked chocolate salted popcorn, pickles, pistachios, and assorted cheeses. Yummmmm
Adapted from The Baking Bible
Makes 2 shallow mini cheesecakes (4.5” springform pans) or 1 deep mini cheesecake
24 salted crackers
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Pulse the crackers in a food processor until medium-course crumbs form. Add the sugar and cayenne and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until combined.
2. Press the crust into the bottom of 2 greased springform pans. If you are making 1 deep cheesecake, or 1 shallow cheesecake, cut the crust recipe in half.
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
½ Tablespoon cornstarch or Tapioca starch
A pinch of Kosher Salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 225⁰F. Mix the starch, sugar, and salt together. Add the cream cheese and beat either in a stand mixer or by hand until smooth and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute.
2. Add the Gorgonzola and sour cream and mix until combined. Add the egg and mix briefly, about 30 seconds.
3. Fill the prepped springform pan/s with the filling and bake for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through. If you want to check by temperature, the middle should be about 160⁰F. Don’t worry, you can cover that hole up later if it’s a probe thermometer!
4. Let cool briefly before removing the outside springform and refrigerate before eating.
Optional—Spicy honey sauce:
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A splash apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons hot water
A couple cracks of black pepper
A pinch of cayenne
A pinch of lemon zest
1. Combine and whisk together until smooth. Pour over cooled cheesecake.
Now let’s see if Eddie Redmayne can pull out a best actor this weekend! He’s my favorite!