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Cheesecake, Triple-Threat (D, TNT)
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts
Serves: 10 to 14

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered instant coffee or espresso
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

2 pounds cream cheese, softened
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs

Triple Threat Chocolate Sauce:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. powdered instant coffee or espresso
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

Make Crust:
Butter an 8"x3" springform pan. With the sides and bottom in place, carefully butter only the sides up to and including the inside of the rim.

Place the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and coffee. Stir with a rubber spatula to mix. Add the butter and stir well. Evenly distribute crumbs onto bottom of pan and press firmly to create an even layer.

Since the pan will be immersed in a water bath it's important it's water-tight. Tear off a large square of wide heavy-duty aluminum foil; place pan in the center of the foil and with your hands bring up the sides of the foil on the outside of the pan and press it firmly against the sides of the pan.

Make Cheesecake Mixture:
Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cheese until it is soft and perfectly smooth, scraping the bowl frequently with a rubber spatula. Do not under beat at this stage.

Beat in the salt, vanilla and sugar. Beat well again, scraping the bowl, for several minutes until thoroughly mixed. Then at moderate speed add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated after each addition. (Be careful not to over beat after adding eggs, the mixture should not become airy.) Set aside.

Make Triple Threat Chocolate Sauce:
In a 1-1/2-quart heavy saucepan place the cream, butter, unsweetened chocolate, and semisweet chocolate. Whisk occasionally over rather low heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is perfectly smooth. This sauce must be used right away while it's still warm because as it cools it becomes too thick to pour.

First the cheese mixture should be divided into three parts, one part equal to half the mixture and the other two parts each equal to one quarter of the mixture. (There are a total of 7 cups)

Pour the larger amount of the cheese mixture into the prepared springform pan. Then with a fork, slowly drizzle half of the chocolate sauce in a thin stream all over the cheese mixture, in a crisscross design or in circles, whatever pleases you. (Just be careful it doesn't come out in large globs.) (There is a total of 1-1/2 cups.)

Cover the chocolate with one of the smaller parts of the cheese mixture, again pouring slowly, all over, not in large globs. Repeat drizzling the second half of the chocolate. Then repeat with the third and last part of the cheese mixture, remember that it will be the top of the cake, and it will look best if you don't allow any of the chocolate to show through. It is a help to pour very slowly (however if a little bit of chocolate does show through it's okay).

Place the cake pan in a larger pan that must not be deeper than the cake pan (1-1/2" is deep enough). Pour hot water about 1" deep into the larger pan. Carefully transfer to the oven. Bake for 1-1/2 hours. If after about 1 hour of baking the top seems to be browning too much carefully lower the rack to the lowest position and continue baking. When done the cake will be a beautiful, smooth medium-brown color.

Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully remove the cake pan from the water and transfer it to a rack. After about 20 minutes remove the foil. Let the pan stand on the rack until it's completely cool, or for at least 4 to 5 hours. Carefully release and remove the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours or overnight.

Posted by Susan Greene

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A