My mother asked me to make a cheesecake for a coworker as a Christmas present. I happily obliged. So Natalie, how can you recommend this recipe if you haven’t even tried it? Oh, but I did. I sampled the batter generously, and it is tangy, rummy, chocolatey goodness! The only drawback is that it requires a hand mixer or a stand mixer, and boy, did I have a lot of dishes to wash afterwards (2 pots, 3 mixing bowls, a lot of utensils).
What is great about this recipe is that you don’t need to pre-bake the crust, nor do you have to cook the whole thing in a waterbath like Joe Pastry’s recipe (which I’m dying to try when I’m in a more patient mood.)
I made a few adjustments from the original recipe (linked below). I reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup of regular sugar to half a cup, because I was using dark chocolate instead of bittersweet baking chocolate. Normally, I would down the sugar even more, but my mom’s friend has a notorious sweet tooth. I also noticed that my cheesecake finished about five minutes early.
Through some idiocy, I had to increase the amount of butter and graham crackers. The recipe calls for graham cracker crumbs, so I just took a packet of cookies and bashed the bejeevies out of it. The plastic ripped and all I ended up doing was making a mess. There are several tried and true methods of crumbling cookies; my personal favorite is to put them in a heavy duty plastic bag and then go at them with a rolling pin.
But I was feeling lazy, so the crumbs were too big. I crushed some of them with a mortar and pestle, but by then it was too little and too late. You may be able to get enough out of the original 1 1/4 cup graham crackers (3/4 of a pack) and 1/2 a stick of butter, but if you’re lazy…you’ll need more.
Chocolate Rum Cheesecake
ADAPTED from Williams-Sonoma with adjustments
NOTES: Don’t worry if the batter is lumpy, a quick trip to the water bath will smooth things out.
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 pack and 2 crackers)
- 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 6 oz. bittersweet baking or dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 71% cocoa, pound plus bar)
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1 lb cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 extra-large eggs
Butter a 9-inch springform pan and cover the outside with aluminum foil, shiny side out.
Grind graham crackers into crumbs, by either crushing them under a rolling pin/wine bottle or with a mortar and pestle until the texture of coarse sand. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar and stir to mix. Add the butter and stir until blended. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. It’s easier if you build up the sides first and then do the middle. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate and rum and melt, stirring often, about 1 minute; set aside. At the same time, fill another pot with an inch of water and heat over medium. This will be your water bath.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until blended. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. ALWAYS crack the eggs in a separate bowl first and gently slide the egg in. You could get a bad egg or drop an egg shell in there.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and set it over a pan of simmering water but not touching the water. Warm the mixture, stirring constantly, until completely smooth and very creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Preheat the toaster oven to 325F.
Pour 1 1/3 cups of the batter into another bowl and set aside. Add the chocolate mixture to the remaining batter and whisk until blended. Set the bowl back over the simmering water and stir until creamy and smooth.
Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Gently pour the plain batter over the top and make swirls in the batter with a fork. I’m not sure if there’s a trick to it. Just for it.
Bake until the cake is set around the edges and the center is still a little loose, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway.