From northern Italy to Seattle, a chocolate hazelnut cheesecake
Italy’s candy of hazelnuts (filberts) and milk chocolate is
named gianduia, after a legendary hero from the northwestern region of
Piedmont. Fran Bigelow, a Sattle pastry maker, takes this confection one step further and makes a gianduia cheesecake, with a splash of
hazelnut liqueur for emphasis.
Because the cake is rich in flavor as well as ingredients, a little
goes a long way; this small cake adequately serves 6. You can find
hazelnut milk chocolate in bulk in some candy shops; others sell it as
candy bars. Or make your own mixture.
1 large package (8 oz.) and 1 small package (3 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream
8 ounces milk chocolate with hazelnuts (gianduia) or roasted
hazelnuts with chocolate (directions follow)
1 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
Beat the cream cheese with sugar until well mixed. Add egg and
cream and beat until smoothly blended.
Coarsely chop chocolate with hazelnuts and place in top of double
boiler; set over hot water to melt. Stir melted chocolate and liqueur
into cream cheese mixture.
Butter a 6-inch cake pan. If pan bottom is not removable, line
with waxed paper; butter the waxed paper. If pan bottom can be removed,
set pan on a large sheet of foil and fold edges of foil up and slightly
above the rim to protect pan from seepage. Pour cheesecake batter into
Set cake pan in a slightly larger pan and place in the middle of a
350| oven. Add boiling water to larger pan until it is about 2/3 up the
sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is set in center when pan is
gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Let stand until cool, then cover and
chill at least 1 hour or as long as 7 days.
Run a knife around pan sides. If pan has removable bottom, remove
sides and set cake on a serving plate. If pan bottom is stationary,
cover top with waxed paper. Lay a plate on paper; hold pan and plate
together and quickly flip; lift off pan and peel paper lining from cake
bottom. Lay a small serving plate on cake; holding the two plates
together, quickly flip. Dust cake top lightly with powdered sugar and
cut into wedges. Accompany with whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.
Roasted hazelnuts with chocolate. Put 2/3 cup (3 oz.) hazelnuts in
a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in a 350| oven until nuts are golden under skin,
8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and rub in a towel to remove as much brown
skin as possible. Make a paste of nuts by whirling them in a food
processor or blender. Combine with 5 ounces chopped milk chocolate.
Melt as directed above.
Photo: Chocolate with roasted hazelnuts gives bonbon character to
small, rich cheesecake