Sweet Curry Chocolate Cheesecakes with Coconut and Chocolate Ganache
I ate so many Christmas cookies that my sweet tooth was appeased for two months. (That my pants wouldn’t button probably helped control my appetite.) When it returned this weekend with a nearly insatiable vengeance, I had one thing on my mind – those delicious Vosges truffles made with sweet Indian curry and toasted coconut. Ah, the Naga!
Instead of venturing out for my fix, I embraced Michael Pollan’s Food Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. So I set out to satisfy my craving by using what I had on hand. I love a good pantry raid almost as much as I love chocolate truffles.
These mini cakes are a bit fussy but worth it. The marriage of curry and chocolate is one of those transcendental food combinations that can’t be described – you just have to taste it. If you’re short on time, you can adapt the recipe* and make one, large cheesecake.
Sweet Curry Chocolate Cheesecakes
with Coconut and Chocolate Ganache
12 oz coconut shortbread (Substitute plain vanilla shortbread if you can’t find coconut.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup butter, melted
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 T brandy
2 T heavy whipping cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 c. cocoa
1 T sweet curry powder
1 T butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
2 mini cheesecake pans (If you only have one pan, bake the cakes in two batches. You can also bake some now; refrigerate the remaining ingredients; and bake the rest tomorrow. The filling will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.)
- Using a food processor, turn the shortbread into coarse crumbs.
- Add cardamom and melted butter. Pulse to combine.
- Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the crumbs into the bottom of each mini cheesecake cell.
- Using the blunt end of a wooden spoon or similar, tamp the crumbs until firmly and evenly compacted.
- Refrigerate until ready to fill.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Add the cream cheese and sugar to a large bowl and mix on medium/high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the mixture on top of the crumb crusts leaving about a 1/2″ between the top of the filling and the top of the pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the cheesecakes are firm to the touch. (They will puff up above the top of the pan and probably crack. Don’t fret, they will sink as they cool, and the ganache will hide any and all imperfections.)
- Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.
- Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake until flakes are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir the coconut once or twice while it bakes.
- Combine the butter, remaining chocolate, and whipping cream in the top of a double boiler. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the cream is fully incorporated. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.
- In the meantime, carefully remove the cooled cheesecakes from the pans and place them on waxed paper.
- Spoon the room temperature ganache over the top of each cheesecake.
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Chill until ganache has set.
- Let the cakes come to room temperature before serving.
*Note: If you lack the pans or the patience for the minis, you can make a single cheesecake using a 7″ springform pan.