Tiramisu Cheesecake with Mocha Ganache
We glide easily back into familiar patterns, conversations picked up where they left off, the heartfelt smiles of recognition and warmth developed over the years. Friendship. Forged in our youth and carried through life’s triumphs and tragedies, these are the ones who have come through the fire, hammered steel, and tempered with our shared experiences. Amazing, how do you make a friend that last a lifetime? You feed them, of course.
The old saying, “to have a friend, you have to be a friend.” It takes effort to keep friendships alive, and alas I am as guilty as the rest for letting good friends of my childhood slip by in my youthful trajectory to adulthood. Age brings a bit of reflection, guilt over what I should have done or been for my friends. I like to think I am a better friend than I was. Not that I care more now, for that was always there in the moment, but knowing that somehow, I let them slip away as they moved on. You have to feed your friendship for it to continue to flourish over time and distance.
Imagine the joy and surprise when you connect again. Tentative, mild positive exchanges reignite the memories and feelings, rebuilding the attraction to those kindred spirits as if time has slipped away. How much effort will you go to feed this relationship? That’s the kicker isn’t it, because you have to give of yourself, your time, your attention, your interest in their lives. Is it enough to just care fondly from afar?
In 1976 our nation celebrated our Bicentennial and our friends gathered for the first annual 4th of July party. Softball in the morning, a parade and potluck spanned our day. The tradition was passed from one couple to another who have hosted the event for 35 years. An annual gathering, free flowing with old and new as families grew, new friends introduced, some stayed the distance, some dropped off, yet each making an indelible memory of good times, good food and fireworks. No matter how late we stay into the night, there never seems to be enough time to tell all the stories, to fully catch up with everyone, but we get just enough to feed the connection, repaving the road to each other’s heart. The physical presence irreplaceable and unparalleled, a hug in the flesh surpasses any <<hugs>> in our social media world.
That world helps with the in-between times, the events, the snippets and comments that fire at us on our phones, computers and tablets. Feeding our friendships, sometimes silly, sometimes profound, teasing, lilting and sad. Sharing just enough, “I hear you, I see you, you are a part of me.”
My friends have come to expect something special from me for our potlucks, and with sincere wish to please I saved this recipe just for them. From the first snapshot image posted, admittedly a bit of a tease, the anticipation was high, surprisingly so. When it came time for the dessert call, Shannon and Jeanne said, in near unison, “You mean you brought it?” Confirmation, and suddenly I was surrounded by my giddy, sweet-toothed, chocolate loving friends. There is no better affirmation than the umms, yumms, and oohs that came from their tastings. Feeding our friendship, my way of sharing the love.
- 4 oz Graham Cracker crumbs
- 4 oz Chocolate Wafer cookie crumbs
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 15 oz container whole milk Ricotta Cheese, drained
- 2 containers BelGioioso Tiramisu flavored Mascarpone
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh Orange Zest
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 6 large Eggs
- ½ cup evaporated Milk (or heavy cream)
- 3 oz Scharffen Berger 62% Dark Chocolate Mocha, chopped
- 3 oz semisweet Chocolate pieces
- 1 tablespoon Kahúa Liqueur
- Set eggs, cheese out for 20 minutes or more so they are room temperature prior to mixing.
- Line bottom of 9-9 ½” springform pan with parchment paper and wrap the outside with two layers of aluminum foil (to prevent water from leaking into the pan while baking.)
- Set prepared pan in large roasting pan and pour enough water in to rise half-way up the springform pan for a traditional water bath.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare Ganache by melting the chocolate pieces in milk/cream over medium heat, stirring constantly until well blended, glossy and thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly before frosting the cheesecake.
- Prepare crust by mixing crumbs with butter and pressing into the bottom only of the springform pan. Bake in oven for 15 minutes and cool completely before adding the cheesecake mixture.
- Blend ricotta in a food processor or mixer until creamy smooth, add mascarpone, sugar and blend well; scraping the sides periodically.
- Add honey, orange zest and vanilla.
- Add eggs, one at a time and blend or pulse until just blended. Don’t over work.
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the water bath for and hour and five minutes (time might vary depending on the size of your springform pan.)
- The cheesecake should be golden on top and slightly jiggly in the center. It will firm up as it cools and chills.
- Let the cheesecake rest on rack to cool before refrigerating. This will take about an hour. Some folks like to eat their cheesecake room temperature, some chilled. If you like it cold it will take at least four hours to chill down properly, some recommend overnight.
- Just before serving prepare Mocha Ganache and frost the top of the cheesecake. This dessert can be made up to two days ahead... if you can wait that long.