Polka Dot Cheesecake
Recalling a Polka Dot Cheesecake I spotted in a magazine years ago, I hunted for a recipe until I finally landed on this dreamy version! Perfect for when you need a fun, special dessert!
A creation of Maida Heatter, renowned pastry chef and cookbook author, this creative Cheesecake Recipe tastes as good as it looks!
Polka Dot Cheesecake
Maida Haetter, pastry chef and cookbook author is renowned for her exquisite desserts and precise instructions. In her cookbook, Book of Great Desserts, she adapted Craig Claiborne’s basic cheesecake into a number of fabulous showstoppers. Polka dot desserts will always catch your eye, like this fabulous Surprise-Inside Dotty Cake and, of course, this fun cheesecake!
When I spotted Ms. Haetter’s polka dot cheesecake, which had been published in Saveur magazine, I was confident it would be outstanding. Starting with a chocolate cookie crust, it was topped with a simple cheesecake flavored with a touch of both vanilla and almond extracts.
A third of the batter was mixed with melted chocolate, then piped into “dots” evenly distributed around the surface.
There were only a couple of issues when putting together this cheesecake. I almost ran out of the chocolate batter, so use it sparingly to start, then add more to each dot with any remaining chocolate batter. Maida also prefers just to pat graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of her cheesecake after it cools. Since most of my crust remained on the bottom plate of the springform pan, you may want to skip the crust phase and just pat on some graham cracker or chocolate wafer crumbs, unless you plan to serve it directly from the pan.
This was absolutely the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. I was a little nervous when, after the hour and a half baking time, the top was quite golden brown and puffy. But Maida does mention this dark top in her recipe, and as it cools, it looks more like your typical cheesecake. I’ll have to agree that Craig Claiborne does indeed have the perfect recipe. I will continue to use his ratio of cream cheese, eggs, and sugar, but vary the flavorings depending on my mood. And this was my first time piping cheesecake dots. The perfectionist in me wasn’t satisfied, but next time will be better!
I had my foodie friends over for Cheesecake 101. They sampled some individual Oreo cheesecakes while I went through some basic cheesecake making pointers:
- Eggs and cream cheese should be at room temperature for easier mixing and a smoother texture in the final product.
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese is the gold standard when it comes to cream cheese. Use it if it is available in your area.
- Use the paddle attachment on your mixer to combine ingredients. When adding the eggs, be sure not to over mix. You do not want to incorporate any extra air into the batter. Add them one at a time, beating until incorporated before adding another.
- Bake your cheesecake in a bain-marie (water bath). This stabilizes the baking temperature and helps to prevent the top from cracking.
- If you’re not 100% certain your springform pan is watertight, wrap the bottom and sides with heavy-duty foil before placing it in the water bath.
- When your cheesecake is fully baked, run a knife between the pan and cheesecake to minimize cracking as it cools.
More Cheesecake Desserts You’ll Love:
- The Best Chocolate Cheesecake from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Hot Fudge Brownie Cheesecake from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pressure Cooker Black Forest Cheesecake from Pressure Cooking Today
- Blackberry Cheesecake Bars from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Coconut Cheesecake Bars Recipe from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Thanks to my dear friends who joined me in the kitchen:
Beth, Jeanne, Sally, Kathy, Suzanne, Shelli, and Cathy.
- 1 3/4 cups Nabisco Famous Wafer Crumbs
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Mix together the crust ingredients and press onto the bottom of a 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool as you make the cheesecake batter. Wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil if your pan is not water tight.
- Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for several minutes until smooth, scraping sides and bottom often. When the cream cheese has been mixed well, add the vanilla and almond extracts and sugar and beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until just combined. Do not over beat.
- Remove ⅓ of the cheesecake mixture and place it in a separate bowl. Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan and set aside.
- Combine melted chocolate and the reserved cheesecake mixture until mixed well. Place chocolate mixture in pastry bag fitted with a plain #6 tip (1/2 inch) (or you can use a Ziploc bag with the end clipped).
- Working at table height (you will have more control than at counter height), place the tip of the tube into the center of the top of the cake, inserting it only slightly into the cake. Squeeze out some of the chocolate mixture. It will form a ball (about golf ball size) in the cake and will leave a dark polka dot about 2 inches wide on the top of the cake.
- Then, using the same procedure, squeeze out six balls around the rim. In order to space the six balls evenly, place the first one at twelve o’clock (top of the cake). The next at six o’clock (opposite your first ball). Then two on each side. The balls around the rim should be smaller than the one in the center, and they should not touch each other. If you have some chocolate mixture left over add it to the other balls.
- Place the cake pan into the larger pan (I use a roaster). Place it in the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan about 1 ½ inches deep.
- Bake for 1 ½ hours. The top of the cake will still become golden brown and it will feel dry to the touch. The cake will firm up as it cools.
- Lift the cake pan out of the water and place it on a cake rack. Remove the foil if used. Cool the cake in the pan for 2 ½ hours.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- To serve, dip a sharp knife in very hot water or hold it under running hot water before making each cut, shake off the water but do not dry the blade. Make the first cut through the middle of one of the smaller dots and the second cut between two of the smaller dots.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 799Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 223mgSodium: 510mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 1gSugar: 58gProtein: 12g
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