About this recipe:This is a stunning chocolate cheesecake featuring hazelnuts and hazelnut liqueur. A show-stopping cheesecake, perfect for any special occasion. Chill the cheesecake thoroughly, even overnight, for best results.
5 tablespoons chopped plain chocolate
275g crushed biscuits, such as digestive or vanilla shortbread
100g ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
675g cream cheese, softened
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
170g chopped plain chocolate
For the topping
110g chopped plain chocolate
13 skinned, toasted hazelnuts
4 tablespoons soured cream
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
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Combine 5 tablespoons chopped plain chocolate, biscuit crumbs, ground hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 23cm springform cake tin. Bake in a preheated 150 C / Gas 2 oven for 15 minutes. Cool.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add 200g caster sugar; mix well. Add the eggs and 3 tablespoons liqueur. Mix until well blended. Add 170g chopped chocolate to the cream cheese mixture. Stir. Pour cheesecake mixture over the cooled biscuit base.
Bake in a preheated 180 C / Gas 4 oven for 1 hour. Let cake cool for 1 hour. Remove outer ring from tin; let cool completely.
Melt 110g plain chocolate over hot (not boiling) water. Stir until smooth. Dip 13 hazelnuts into the chocolate, covering one-half of each nut. Shake off the excess chocolate. Place on greaseproof paper. Chill until set.
To the remaining melted chocolate, add soured cream. Mix well. Stir in 1 tablespoon liqueur. Spread topping on top of the cooled cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate dipped hazelnuts.
Perfect cheesecake tips
Don't overbake: While it may look underdone, a cheesecake is actually done when the centre is still wobbly. Residual heat 'carries over' and the centre continues to cook once out of the oven.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool on a rack, or simply leave the oven door closed, turn off the heat and let the cheesecake cool undisturbed for at least 1 hour. This helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking in the centre. After chilling, the once-wobbly centre should firm up beautifully! Bake in a water bath: The most effective way to bake a cheesecake evenly without browning the top is to bake in a water bath. Since water evaporates at boiling point, the water bath will never get hotter than 100C, no matter the oven temperature. This means that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the centre, which can cause it to sink and crack. Mixing matters: Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before mixing, or you'll end up with lumps in your cheesecake. If you do end up with lumps in the batter, give it a quick spin in the food processor for silky smooth results. Don't forget to chill: A cheesecake needs several hours to chill and set, making it a perfect make-ahead dessert.