Polka Dot Cheesecake~

Adapted from Maida Heatter via Saveur


Crust:
1 3/4 cups Nabisco Famous Wafer Crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted 

3 tablespoons sugar

 
Cheesecake:
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
 
4 large eggs
at room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  

Preheat oven to 350º.  Fill a large roasting pan with warm water and set aside.


Mix together the crust ingredients and press onto the bottom of a 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside and let cool as you make the cheesecake batter. Wrap outside of pan with heavy duty aluminum foil if pan is not water tight.


Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for several minutes until smooth, scraping sides and bottom often. When the cheese has been mixed well, add the vanilla and almond extracts and sugar and beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until just combined. Do not over beat.  


Remove 1/3 of the cheesecake mixture and place it in a separate bowl.  Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan and set aside.


Combine melted chocolate and the reserved cheesecake mixture until mixed well. Place chocolate mixture in pastry bag fitted with a plain #6 tip (1/2 inch) (or you can use a Ziploc bag with the end clipped). Working at table height (you will have more control than at counter height), place the tip of the tube into the center of the top of the cake, inserting it only slightly into the cake. Squeeze out some of the chocolate mixture. It will form a ball (about golf ball size) in the cake and will leave a dark polka dot about 2 inches wide on the top of the cake.

 

Then, using the same procedure, squeeze out six balls around the rim. In order to space the six balls evenly, place the first one at twelve o’clock (top of the cake). The next at six o’clock (opposite your first ball). Then two on each side.  The balls around the rim should be smaller than the one in the center, and they should not touch each other. If you have some chocolate mixture left over add it to the other balls. Do not be concerned if cake does not look level...it will even out as it bakes.   


Place the cake pan into the larger pan (I use a roaster). Place it in the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan about 1 ½ inches deep. 


Bake for 1 ½ hours. The top of the cake will still be come golden brown and it will feel dry to the touch. The cake will firm up as it cools.


Lift the cake pan out of the water and place it on a cake rack. Remove the foil if used. Cool the cake in the pan for 2 ½ hours. 


Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  

     

To serve, dip a sharp knife in very hot water or hold it under running hot water before making each cut, shake off the water but do not dry the blade. Make the first cut through the middle of one of the smaller dots and the second cut between two of the smaller dots.

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