May 26th, 2011
Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake (Eggless & No Bake)
For Ro’s birthday this year on the 6th of May, I wanted to make something different from the cakes that I usually make. I always surprise him with a lovely cake and this year had to be no different.
The excellent mascarpone cheese from the cheese shoot lying in my refrigerator had to be put to good use too. And I thought that if I combined the mascarpone and chocolate to make a beautiful cheesecake, there would be no better end to the smooth and creamy cheese!
It took me an entire day with the endless Hari breaks that I took in between to make calculations and write the recipe in my note book, a recipe which had a fair chance of succeeding without any eggs or gelatine in it. I wrote, scratched and re wrote the proportions and the ingredients until I was finally satisfied.
Our home is studded with beautiful flowers during the last week of April and the first week of May as mine and Ro’s birthday and our wedding anniversary too happens in a short span of these two weeks. And there are always cakes and desserts to celebrate these occasions giving the food writer and the food photographer in me great creative delights.
I was taking a chance by making this on the eve of a birthday since it was untested in my kitchen before and so I unravelled it with a fair amount of trepidation, simultaneously making back up plans, just in case the experiment went kaput!
Fortunately it was a success and if I had not left it outside for too long in the warm and humid temperatures of Mumbai before photographing it, you would have seen a more firmly set cheesecake.
The crumb from the base is the perfect foil to this smooth, creamy and chocolaty cheesecake. And of course the birthday boy loved it! But you know who liked it even more than him? We were thrilled to the bones when we saw little Hari reaching for a slice from the table and trying to eat, relishing every bit as we watched with excitement as he took bite after bite, smearing his mouth along the way, delighting us with his expressions and making me heave a sigh of relief and leaving me revelling in the fact that both my men relished it!
Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake (Eggless & No Bake) Recipe
You can either make this in a deep dish 8″ springform pan or a 9″ regular pan. Garnishing is optional and you could leave it plain, sprinkle some grated chocolate over it or make some pretty decorations.
For the base:
125 gm (8 large or 10 regular) digestive biscuits
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60 gm (1/4 cup) butter at room temperature
For the cake filling:
5 gm agar agar or chinagrass
250 ml (1 cup) water
500 gm (2 cups) mascarpone cheese
160 gm (1 cup) icing sugar or confectioners sugar
200 gm (3/4 cup) thick yogurt
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
250 gm dark chocolate (1 1/2 cups) chopped or semi sweet chocolate chips + 2 tbsp butter
Prepare the base:
Place the biscuits in a zip loc pouch, seal and with the help of a rolling pin, crush the biscuits to a fine powder. Alternatively, process the biscuits in a food processor until they turn into a fine powder.
Put the biscuit powder in a mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and the room temperature butter and mix with your finger tips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs and the butter is well mixed into the biscuit powder. Alternatively, make this in a food processor.
Press this mixture over a the base of a deep 8” (20 cm) or regular 9” (23 cm) springform pan or a pan with a detachable base.
Refrigerate for half an hour or place in the deep freezer for 10 min.
Prepare the filling:
If the china grass is in bars, process it into flakes in a blender. Place the chinagrass in a bowl of water (1 cup, 250 ml) and allow it to soak while you prepare the other ingredients for the filling.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer if using one, beat the mascarpone, sugar & yogurt until smooth and creamy, with a wire whisk or a hand blender or the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer. Stir in the vanilla, mix well and keep aside.
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly and then slowly stir it into the mascarpone mixture and mix well.
Place the chinagrass with the water and allow it to melt, stirring all the while, over a low flame. Once it melts completely pour it over a strainer into the cheese-chocolate mixture, stirring the cheese mixture all the while. It is important to keep stirring the cheese mixture as china grass sets very fast and we need to prevent the formation of tiny lumps.
Immediately pour the prepared mixture into the prepared crust.
Allow to set in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Garnish with grated chocolate if desired.
Makes one deep 8” or regular 9” cheesecake.
*For a gluten free version, use gluten free cookies!
For hints and tips of cooking with chinagrass or agar agar, look here.