Most people are familiar with the classic tiramisu, an Italian espresso-mascarpone layered dessert. The creamy mascarpone combined with chocolate and espresso make a satisfying after dinner dessert. My love of cheesecakes has lead to many flavor combinations, like my Zebra cheesecake (on my blog), lemony versions, white chocolate raspberry, even an apple pie version. Classic desserts are my biggest inspiration for new cheesecake idea combinations. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, so it’s only logical to make it into a cheesecake. Besides who doesn’t like coffee and chocolate – it’s a perfect combination, such as peanut butter and chocolate. For Valentines Day, I decided to make this dessert for my love. He gave his seal of approval.
Mascarpone is traditional in tiramisu, however cream cheese is the traditional ingredient in cheesecake. Cream cheese and mascarpone are very similar ingredients. In fact, the two are regularly combined, and may even replace one another, in cheesecake, and other, recipes. Mascarpone is a little tangier than cream cheese if you were taste testing the two side-by-side. However, the consistency of the two does not differ too much. In this recipe, I keep the cream cheese base for the cheesecake, but incorporate a fluffy mascarpone cream to reel in the Tiramisu experience.
Over the years I have tested many cheesecake recipes. For this recipe I use my basic cheesecake recipe to start. It is a combination of a classic recipe, and my grandmother’s recipe. This recipe always yields a perfect combination of creamy and fluffy. Some of you may like a dense and dry cheesecake (my boyfriend included), and you can achieve that by removing two eggs from this recipe and not using a water bath.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. When I follow the standard water bath instructions, like most recipes call for, my crust ends up soggy. When I don’t use a water bath I notice my cheesecake is drier and cracks! So, I decided to use my roasting pan with the removable rack (my rack is flat not ‘V’ shaped) and filled the pan with water to just below the rack. This way I get moisture in the oven, without the soggy crust. If you have luck with a traditional water bath, definitely use it. It is all about what works for you.
1-package (12 lady fingers) –Raley’s keeps them in the bakery freezer, just ask the baker for a package.
4oz brewed espresso (you can use hot water and instant powder too)
Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your spring form pan as tight together as you can. You want the least amount of gaps as possible (I put a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of my spring form pan). Sprinkle the espresso over all the lady fingers so each one soaks up the espresso. I tried dipping the lady fingers in the espresso first, but found if I tightly packed the lady fingers then added the espresso, that worked much better.
3- 8oz. pkgs cream cheese (softened)
3/4c granulated sugar
5 eggs (2 for a dense cake)
1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp espresso powder, or 3 tablespoon brewed espresso
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and make sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in whipping cream and espresso. Pour the filling onto the lady finger crust.
Reduce the oven to 300-degrees, bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 5 min (or until the middle is set).
Once the middle is set turn off the oven and prop the oven open slightly for about 15-20 minutes so the cheesecake can cool slowly (this will help avoid cracking). Remove the cheesecake from your oven and allow it to cool a bit more.
1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
In a bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer beat together mascarpone, cream, and sugar until mixture holds stiff peaks. Once your cheesecake is cool to the touch, spread, or pipe, the cream on to the cheesecake.
Sift sweetened cocoa powder over the top, or grate semi-sweet chocolate on top.
Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours before serving.
Hey I never said a good cheesecake was easy…