Creamy Mocha Cheesecake

Creamy Mocha Cheesecake

Makes 1 (10-inch) cheesecake. Recipe is by Ellen Sistrunk, of Baton Rouge. “Unlike most cheesecakes, this one does not fall in the middle. The secret is the addition of cornstarch to the filling,” Cynthia Nobles said.

Crust

1 (81/2-oz.) pkg. chocolate graham crackers, crushed

1/4 cup plus 1 tbl. butter, melted

1/4 cup ground pecans, toasted

2 tbls. sugar

1 tsp. instant coffee granules

Filling

4 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature

12⁄3 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tbl. vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

4 ozs. semisweet chocolate

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1 tsp. instant coffee granules

2 tsps. hot water

Topping

11/2 cups sour cream

3 tbls. sugar

2 tsps. instant coffee granules

Chocolate leaves or fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

1. Wrap the outside of a 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Combine all crust ingredients and press in bottom and 1 inch up sides of foil-covered pan. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling: Put one package of cream cheese, 1⁄3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 11⁄3 cups sugar and vanilla. Blend in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cream just until completely blended.

3. In a double boiler, melt semisweet and unsweetened chocolate. Cool slightly and add to cheesecake mixture. Dissolve instant coffee in hot water and add to cheesecake mixture. Gently spoon batter over the crust.

Place cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until edges are firm and center is just slightly firm, with no sheen on top, about 11/4 hours. (Do not over-bake).

4. Prepare topping by combining sour cream, sugar, and coffee granules in a small bowl. Spread over cheesecake. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Chill 8 hours. Decorate with chocolate leaves and strawberries.