Big Little Recipe It has the smallest possible ingredient list and everything else is great: flavor, creativity, and wow factor. That means five ingredients or less—not including water, salt, black pepper, and some fat (like oil and butter), because we think you have those ingredients covered. Column-inspired, file Great Little Recipes cooking book available now.
As far as baked goods go, cheesecake is notorious for its volatility.
Books and blogs are filled with tips and tricks for overcoming a cracked surface: add flour. Add cornstarch. Add eggs one by one. Add eggs at the end. Bake in a water bath. Bake it covered with aluminum foil. Bake on a low temperature. Bake at a really low temperature. Bake until the center vibrates a lot. Bake until the center jiggles slightly. Let it cool in the closed oven. Let it cool at room temperature.
I have an easier idea: Skip the oven altogether. And while you’re at it, skip most of the grocery list, too.
In the fridge, nothing can go wrong. While the difference between cheesecake and over-baking is just minutes, the difference between under-baking or over-baking – are those real words? – Hours.
Which means you can throw cheesecake in the fridge and then forget about it. Get out, walk around the building, and soak up the sun. This is possible because all the ingredients that you would need for baking, such as raw flour and eggs, are not present.
The filling is only chocolate and cream cheese. The crust is just biscuits and butter. I know it sounds too good to be true. it’s not.
Instead of searching for other types of non-baked cheesecake for inspiration, I looked at ganache. This two-ingredient mold—chocolate plus heavy cream—can turn into glaze, truffle, tart, or frosting, depending on the proportion and use. We simply swap cream cheese and tub spring.
The result is intensely chocolate, with a confident taste of a custard-candy bite. There is no need for additional sugar because semi-sweet chocolate is exactly that – a little sweet. And resist the temptation to add vanilla extract or espresso powder. These toppings sneak into a lot of chocolate cheesecake recipes. But like a glare on TV, they distract from what we’re trying to focus on: the bitterness of chocolate, the taste of cheese.
Also, the base does not need any sugar. While many crumb crusts insist on a spoonful for flavor and binding, you won’t notice their absence. In fact, it results in a fudge that is less cluttered, more balanced, and more refined. Any type of biscuit you use already contains sugar.
Which reminds me: The crackers are up to you. There are no wrong answers. Buttery Ritz. Salts are salty. Classic Graham. Or try Graham’s Chocolate for a double-chocolate cheesecake. I can go get a big slice of that now.
Recipe: Salty Chocolate Cheesecake