Rare or “raw” cheesecake is a closer relative of panna cotta than the rich, baked variety. Just about anyone can prepare it as a Mother’s Day surprise. (Moms: Leave this magazine open where your children will see it— maybe they’ll get the hint.) Use a flaky sea salt like Maldon that won’t overpower the delicate creaminess of the mascarpone layer, and splurge on a quality chocolate bar for the ganache. After all, it’s a special occasion.
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
- 1¹⁄₃ cup heavy cream
- 1 packet gelatin
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2¾ ounces dark chocolate
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- Flaky sea salt, for garnish
To make crust: In food processor, grind walnuts, 2 tablespoons sugar and table salt on high to consistency of flour. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add butter, and stir until melted. Mixture should have texture of wet sand.
Line bottom of 8-inch cake or springform pan with aluminum foil. Press crust in even layer on bottom, using a flat-bottomed glass to smooth and compress. Place in freezer until hard, about 10 minutes. While crust chills, clean food processor bowl to make filling.
For cheesecake: Put 1 cup heavy cream in small bowl, then sprinkle gelatin on surface. Let sit 5 minutes to soften. Add mascarpone, ricotta and remaining sugar to food processor bowl. Purée until completely smooth. Microwave cream and gelatin 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gelatin dissolves. Combine with mascarpone mixture and process 2 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides. Pour mixture over crust. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
When cake is set, make ganache: Chop chocolate and mix remaining heavy cream and corn syrup in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring with fork in between, until chocolate is melted. Beat vigorously with fork until smooth and shiny.
Place cheesecake pan into larger pan filled with warm water for 5 minutes. Invert onto plate, remove foil, then invert again onto serving plate, so crust is on bottom. Pour ganache on top. Spread with back of spoon so it covers completely and drizzles down sides. Garnish with sea salt.
Broadbent 10 Year Old Boal Madeira, “sourced by one of America’s great Madeira aficionados, Bartholomew Broadbent, this is a lively style of Boal, countering the creamy cheesecake with bright acidity while complementing it with complex flavors of date, burnt orange peel, roasted nuts and sea salt,” says Tim Riley, sommelier at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland.