- 24 grams almond meal
- 30 grams powdered sugar
- 160 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Momofuku Earl Grey Fudge
- 40 grams water
- 2 grams Earl Grey tea, or one tea bag
- 30 grams 72% chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 18 grams cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 35 grams corn syrup
- 25 grams sugar
- 55 grams heavy cream
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 200 grams sugar
- 8 ounces condensed milk
- 8 ounces ricotta
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar Cookie Crust
Prep: 8 - 10 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
First! Please remove all your refrigerated items from the refrigerator. Barring the butter necessary for making your crust, your ingredients should be at room temperature for a cheesecake. It's very difficult to whip cream cheese into shape if it is cold.
Then, begin with the crust. As with all recipes that have a butter based crust or pie dough, it's best to start here and give your lovely crust plenty of time to chill out in the refrigerator while you're working on the rest of your ingredients.
In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, powdered sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk together to combine. Slice 4 ounces of butter into thin cubes and add to the dry mix. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until you have a fine sand. There shouldn't be any large chunks of butter; it should be well incorporated into the flour. This should only take a few minutes, no more than five. Add the egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to the flour mixture and work into the dough. Work the egg into the flour until completely combined and the dough begins to stick together. At that stage, I always use my hands to squeeze the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator.
Earl Grey Fudge Sauce
Prep: 10 - 14 minutes
This lovely fudge sauce from Momofuku Milk Bar came into my life by accident. I already had it in my head to make an earl grey cake this weekend for the combined effort of a birthday celebration (yay Yael!) and wedding cake layering practice. After I'd purchased fresh, lovely, aromatic loose leaf tea from Cup & Kettle, I was flipping through Milk by Christina Tossi and found this recipe for Earl Grey Fudge Sauce. Don't you love the beauty of coincidence sometimes? Justin vetoed the fudge sauce-cake combo (he thought the chocolate would overpower the cake), but I think it works beautifully with these creamy cheesecake bars. Get your biceps ready for this recipe, folks!
Bring your water to a boil in a kettle or small saucepan. Remove from heat, add tea, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain the water into a medium bowl, making sure to remove all the tea leaves, and add chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and heavy cream over high heat. Stir occasionally while the mixture comes to a boil, then remove immediately! AS SOON AS THAT BOIL STARTS pour that mixture overtop of your chocolate-cocoa-tea holding bowl. Let the mixture rest for 1 minute.
After 1 minute, slowly being to whisk the mixture. Continue, increasing the speed of ferociousness of your whisking every 30 seconds until the mixture is glossy-lovely and silky. This should take between 2 to 4 minutes.
Set fudge aside to be drizzled over cheesecake just before baking.
Creamy Cheesecake Filling
Prep: 12 - 15 minutes
Bake: 40 - 45 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
This cheesecake filling is a slight departure from the lovely Candied Lemon & Strawberry Cheesecake I shared a few weeks ago. These bars are moist, sweet, and creamy with a softer texture. I suggest making both and trying side-by-side. The beauty of life comes in comparison. I think.
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 X 13-inch. One way to prevent cracks in a cheesecake is by thoroughly buttering whatever dish you are using. This ensures that cheesecake doesn't stick to the side, ripping the sweet cheesecake apart from the middle.
In a large bowl, beat your room temperature (please God make sure it is) cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and soft with no evidence it was once in a box. Add sugar and beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add ricotta and beat until combined, then add condensed milk and beat. The mixture should be nearer the side of liquid, but still quite thick. Before even thinking about adding the eggs, be sure that the mixture is fully smooth. No lumps! Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition. With the last egg, add the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and roll into a 9 X 13-inch rectangle to fit your buttered pan. Press dough into the pan. Use a fork to prick the crust in 1-inch intervals, slide into the oven, and bake for 12 - 15 minutes until just beginning to brown.
Once the pre-bake is finished, remove the pan from the oven and place a kettle of water to boil. You will be baking the cheesecake bars in a warm bain marie (warm water in a pan larger than the one holding your baked good). Or maybe you will be, that's what I did. A warm bain marie is another great step in cracked-cheesecake prevention.
While the water bowls, pour your cheesecake mixture over your crust. Then carefully drizzle the hot fudge over the cheesecake. The fudge will mostly sink to the bottom, but you should be able to see a good deal of it in the cheesecake. Use a rubber spatula to get all that tasty chocolate into the cheesecake! Then grab a fork and twirl it across the cheesecake (see second photo) to spread the chocolate throughout the cheesecake mixture.
Place a 15 X 10-inch pan or a roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and add boiled water to the pan. Very carefully rest your cheesecake pan in the pan of water. Shut the oven door and let the heat do its work for 40 - 45 minutes. The cheesecake is finished when the top is beginning to brown and there's still a nice jiggle to the middle of the cheesecake.
Chill for 2 hours and serve with fresh fruit (strawberries and cherries!) or nuts.