Chocolate Cheese Cake (Cikolatalı Peynir Kek)

About 6 months after moving to Turkey, I was desperately craving one of my favorite foods that I ate regularly in Australia – cheesecake! Since I couldn’t find cream cheese in Istanbul (well, not the kind I was familiar with) I was at a bit of a loss. Until I visited with my mother-in-law who has baked a delicious cheesecake using labne. Labne is readily found outside of Turkey also, and has a softer texture than cream cheese, but works just as well in a cheese cake. I promptly got the recipe from her, and got cooking! This is a delicious cheesecake, which all of my friends ate hungrily. Success? I think so! When you remove from the oven, if it at first seems like the centre isn’t cooked – don’t worry. As the cheesecake cools it will become more solid. On my first try, I didn’t let either the cheesecake or the chocolate cool sufficiently, and needless to say I has a mess of chocolate which fell to the centre of my cheesecake. So do take the time to wait for them both to cool before adding the topping to the cake. Otherwise, this is one of the most easily, foolproof cheesecake recipes I have ever cooked. Enjoy!

Base

  • 300g plain biscuits (similar to a plain tea biscuit)
  • 75g butter
  1. Process the biscuits in a food processor until they are like a flour.
  2. Melt the butter and add to the biscuits. Continue to process until mixed.
  3. Grease the bottom of a 26cm springform cheesecake tin.
  4. Pack the biscuit base mixture into the bottom of the greased pan, slightly raising the edges.
  5. Press the base down firmly to the bottom of the tin using a spoon.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 400g labne
  • 200mL thickened cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat oven to 160-deg.
  2. In a bowl, place eggs and sugar. Beat with a hannd mixer on medium speed for approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture through a wire sieve to remove any lumps and ensure your filling is smooth.
  5. Pour mixture over the biscuit base, and tap firmly on the bench a few times to  release any bubbles.
  6. Bake in 160-deg oven for 50-60 minutes.

Note: After removing the cheesecake from the oven, the middle will stil be soft. This is normal, don’t worry. As the cake cools to room temperature it will become firm.

Chocolate sauce topping

  • 160g bitter chocolate
  • 150mL thickened cream
  1. Melt chocolate in a heatproof dish over saucepan of boiling water.
  2. Add cream and mix together to make a ganache.
  3. After both the sauce and cheesecake have cooled enough, pour the sauce over.
  4. Refrigerate overnight (or for a few hours, at least).