White Chocolate Cheesecake With White Chocolate Ganache

Advocate-tested recipe

White Chocolate Cheesecake With White Chocolate Ganache

Makes 1 10-inch cheesecake. Recipe is by Cynthia Nobles, who says to make it at least a day ahead. It can be made two days ahead, covered and chilled.

Crust:

11/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup ground pecans

4 tbls. butter (plus more for coating pan)

2 tbls. sugar

1 egg white

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, add vanilla wafer crumbs, pecans, 4 tablespoons butter and sugar and process for 30 seconds. Add egg white and pulse until well combined. Coat the insides of a 10-inch springform pan with butter. Press crumb mixture over bottom and 2 inches up side of pan. Set aside.

Filling:

16 ozs. white chocolate, broken into small pieces

32 ozs. cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ozs. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

4 large eggs

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbl. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Cool 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and mascarpone on medium-high speed 3 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary. Add sugar and salt and beat until smooth.

3. Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Add whipping cream and extracts and beat until well blended.

4. Slowly add melted white chocolate and beat until smooth. Pour into crust and bake about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until top is lightly brown and center is still jiggly. (To assure accuracy, insert a thermometer into center and stop baking at 150 degrees.) Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in oven for an additional hour. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Before removing from pan, refrigerate overnight.

5. Run a small thin knife between pan sides and cake and release sides.

White Chocolate Ganache

12 ozs. white chocolate, chopped

2⁄3 cup heavy cream

1 tbl. butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Place white chocolate in a stainless steel bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chocolate. Cover bowl with a plate. Let stand 5 minutes.

3. Add vanilla and stir until smooth and slightly thickened.

4. Pour over the top of the chilled cheesecake and spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

White Chocolate Leaves

24 nontoxic fresh leaves (lemon, rose, camellia, kumquat)

4 ozs. white chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. vegetable shortening

Edible silver and gold sprinkles

1. Wash and thoroughly dry leaves.

2. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Add shortening to hot chocolate and stir until smooth.

3. With a small paint brush, brush a smooth, heavy coat of white chocolate onto undersides of leaves. Chocolate side up, allow to chill 30 minutes.

4. Carefully peel leaves away from chocolate. Refrigerate between sheets of parchment paper up to 1 week.

5. When ready to decorate, dust leaves with sprinkles before placing on cheesecake.