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Layered chocolate cheesecake advice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So my restaurant is partaking in a fundraiser for a local non-profit in which local restaurants prepare 75 one or two bite chocolate deserts for a friendly competition. Pastry is not really my strongest area so I'm sending out this thread to all you pro bakers for some assistance! The plan, right now, is to do layered cheesecake bites. Chocolate crumb and hazelnut crust, dark chocolate layer, white chocolate layer, ganache on top. Thus far we've tried baking the cheesecakes in 9x13 pyrex baking dishes then slicing into individual portions (1 in. X 1 in X 3in.). The two main problems I'm having are:

1) the cheesecake is not baking or setting up very evenly. Tall edges, sunken areas, etc.. I'm doing these in a convection oven and we're having a hard time finding the right temp/baking time. That said, I've done regular cheesecakes with little problem before so I'm thinking the layers might be the source of the problem.

2) Baking and then slicing into single servings is not doing it for me in terms of presentation. The lines are not coming out clean after slicing. I very much want nice, clean, even, visible layers.

How would you guys approach this little project? Any ideas? Also, what are some of your favorite chocolate garnish ideas for the top?

Thanks.
post #2 of 7

maida heatter had in her chocolate book a layered cheesecake recipe; she froze each layer before pouring the next. then when all three had been added, let it stand at rm temp for an hour before baking.  I've had to play around with water bath/no water bath, 225, 250 dF to get it right so it is definitely a trial and error kind of thing for your oven/environment.

post #3 of 7

If I may........Convection ovens never work well with cheesecake because of the moving air.

If there is a way to turn off the fan that would help.

Secondly, the reason you have higher sides and sunken middle is BECAUSE the air movement is raising the temperature of the oven and the cheesecake is baking too fast.

 

Low and slow is the way to go.

Also baking the cakes in a pan filled 1/2 way with water will stabilize the inner temperature and give you a better product.

Bake at 300 degrees until almost set.....turn off the oven and leave the cake in there.

Not only will you have a nice flat top, but the inside will be set and you will enjoy a better product.

I don't what recipe you use, but I am able to pour white on dark right away and at the low temperature baking they don't separate or marble together inside. Been there....done that with 3 layers.......White chocolate, dark chocolate and pumpkin.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Freezing the first layer slightly helped tremendously with maintaining a nice line. Any neat tricks to slicing the individual servings without mussing them up?
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mboshka View Post

... Any neat tricks to slicing the individual servings without mussing them up?

Wire cutter, maybe even dental floss?

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #6 of 7

Does it have to be cheesecake?  Unless you have individual ring molds or silicone, it might be easier to do a different component that will cut better.  Maybe a cream cheese cremeux, which should cut nicely when frozen with clean edges.  You could layer it on a brownie and top with white chocolate mousse.

You can cut cheesecake with a hot knife fairly well, but will sometimes still encounter "flaking".

post #7 of 7
Quote:
 Any neat tricks to slicing the individual servings without mussing them up?

The best way to cut cheesecake is to slice them partially frozen. I always bake up a bunch of cheesecakes at once and throw them in the freezer (they freeze really well). When I want to slice one, I bring it out of the freezer and let it thaw for about 45 minutes. Then with a hot knife, they slice like a dream. Hot knife=knife in a pitcher of very hot water. 

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