Food & Drink

Hometown Favorite: Chocolate-Irish Cream Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

SERVES 14 TO 16

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to love—love and Champagne, hearts, flowers and, of course, chocolate.

Try this yummy Irish cream-laced chocolate cheesecake (made with Philadelphia cream cheese) for a delicious Valentine’s Day treat.

You’ll find other recipes like this in my Favorite Flavors of Ireland cookbook. To order, visit www.irishcook.com

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups digestive biscuit crumbs, such as McVitie’s brand
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, ground (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Coffee beans, for garnish (optional)

1. Make crust. Preheat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl, combine crumbs, walnuts, sugar, and melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack; maintain oven temperature.

2. Make filling. Microwave chocolate in a glass bowl on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir once, and then return to microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted; cool for about 5 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add melted chocolate and then mix in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth; stir in Irish cream.

4. Pour mixture over crust and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until nearly set. Remove from oven, run a knife around rim to loosen, and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before removing side of pan. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

5. To serve, combine confectioners’ sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over top of cake; decorate with coffee beans, if desired. Cut cake into slices.

Note: To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 375° F. Put walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.

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