Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I should have said happy Thanksgiving to all Americans wherever you are because people around these parts don’t celebrate the Nina, the Pinta or the Santa Maria’s arrival in the New World. Whether you’re in the states wearing Pilgrim hats or in sunny Australia where I am – Thanksgiving is a holiday every American celebrates. I’m no exception!
We’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner tonight. It’s summer here and I’m sweating bullets but cooking anyway. I started last night by making my dessert – a dark chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache and topped with toasted macadamia nuts. I saw a similar recipe from Monique at ambitiouskitchen.com and thought I’d do something similar but Australianify it just a bit. She used oreo cookies and hazelnuts as a crust and I used chocolate ripple cookies and macadamia nuts.
She used nutella in her ganache and I used chocolate, butter and cream. I received a big box of Chobani yogurt last week and I’ve been looking forward to making this cake since I opened that box. Thanks Chobani!
I mentioned to my new friend, food photographer Ros McLaughlin, that I was going to be making this cake for Thanksgiving and she said she’d be happy to come down to my house and photograph it. Well… I scrubbed the dining room table, polished the silver, vacuumed the carpet and didn’t think a thing about the patio. She arrived and within 5 minutes we’d carried the coffee table outside to the patio to get good light. She was kind enough not to mention the spent dog bones lying around. Sometimes old bones become good friends, just ask Charlie.
I made the cake last night so it would have time to be nice and cold but I didn’t pour the ganache on top until Ros got here. I wanted it to look shiny and semi-liquid and that it did. Ros took photos of me plating the cake, pouring on the ganache, making it dribble over the edge and sprinkling the nuts. I don’t have those photos yet but I’ll share them when they arrive.
Ros is an accomplished pet photographer and has a steady gig at Australia Zoo, photographing guests with the animals. Can you say, Crikey? They say that a lot at the crocodile hunter’s zoo. The zoo isn’t too far from where Ros and I live. She began photographing food not too long ago and she’s already won a photo contest judged by Jamie Oliver. How lucky am I that she offered to shoot my cake? Pretty damn lucky, I reckon.
Here’s how I changed up Monique’s great cheesecake.
- 1 package Arnotts Chocolate Ripple Biscuits (or any chocolate cookie)
- 1 cup macadamia nuts
- ¼ cup butter, melted (you might not need that much)
- 285 grams (10 oz) Dark Chocolate (at least 70%) chopped
- 3 250 gram (8-oz) packages Philly cream cheese - room temperature
- ¾ cup Chobani Yogurt
- 3 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 170 grams (6-oz) Dark Chocolate chopped
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 cup toasted macadamia nuts coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- In a food processor, grind the nuts for a few seconds and then add the cookies and finally add the butter. You want just enough butter so that the crust will adhere to the sides of the pan.
- Place the mixture in a 9-inch springform pan and create a crust along the bottom and up the sides. I used a drinking glass and worked on the sides first and then the bottom.
- Place in oven for 10 minutes. Not a minute longer.
- Place on wire rack to cool while you make the cheesecake.
- Place chopped chocolate in a double boiler over (not touching) slowly simmering water. When melted and smooth, set aside to cool while you make the rest of the cake.
- Cut the cream cheese and place in a mixing bowl along with the yogurt and beat until creamy.
- Add cocoa and sugar and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl
- Add in the eggs and egg yolk and beat just until the eggs are fully incorporated.
- Remove bowl from mixer and pour in chocolate and fold to combine.
- Pour mixture into cooled crust and tap to remove any possible air holes.
- Place back in the oven for about an hour. Mine took one hour and 7 minutes.
- Leave to cool on a rack and then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but best if overnight
- Place all ingredients in the top of a double boiler over (but not touching) slowly simmering water.
- Stir often and when melted beat til smooth
- Pour over chilled cheesecake and garnish with toasted macadamia nuts.
It’s Thanksgiving link-up with my friends from the Deep Dish, Simply Sweet Justice and From My Sweet Heart who’ve all done a Thanksgiving post.
Thanks so much to Chobani for sending the yogurt to create this recipe and to Ros McLaughlin for coming by to photograph my cake. I added a couple of my own photos (the ones without the watermark) just because I can’t leave well enough alone. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!