I have a theory, and I doubt I'm the first, that sweet and savory were meant to be enjoyed together as often as possible. It keeps things interesting and not too sweet, you know? I just love the balance of working with flavors that compliment each other. One thing I've been working on this month is a basil cheesecake to share with you all.
The first attempt was too light on the basil flavor and ended up having large cracks in the final cheesecake surface. Boo! Although cracks aren't the end of the world, I prefer they not be there. But, I do have some tips if you are sometimes plagued by cheesecake cracks (or excessive sinkage). Also I changed up my method for incorporating the basil flavor, and the good news is it's even easier than my original attempt.
Basically, if you like cheesecake, or interesting desserts, or basil, or all three, then you really need to make this. It's SO good!
1 cup crushed chocolate wafers or graham crackers
3 tablespoons melted butter
(3) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Basil Extract
green food coloring (optional)
Use a food processor to crush the chocolate wafers into a fine powder. Mix with the melted butter and press into a greased springform pan so the crust covers the bottom completely. Bake at 325°F for 8-10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), whip together the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt and greek yogurt until well combined. Our goal here is to get rid of any cream cheese lumps and really mix these ingredients together.
Next stir in the basil extract. Make sure to read the package directions as sometimes they will suggest a certain number of "drops" as an equivalent measurement to a teaspoon. Taste and adjust as you like here.
Fold the eggs into the batter one at a time. Fold just enough to incorporate but do not over mix. You don't want to incorporate air into the eggs or the batter at this point as this is what can cause your cheesecake to rise while baking and then deflate (often cracking) as it cools. If you want your cheesecake to be tinted a little more green, then you can also fold in a little food coloring here as well.
Pour the batter over the baked crust. Before popping the cheesecake into the 325°F oven, add an aluminum baking pan filled half or two thirds full of water to the bottom rack of your oven. This is an alternative to baking in a water bath and helps ensure your oven is an even temperature throughout.
Bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes. Try not to open the oven door while it bakes. (It's hard! I know!) Turn the oven off, crack the door just slightly and allow the cheesecake to cool in the still warm oven for an hour. Then allow to cool on the countertop until it's at room temperature. Then refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
For the chocolate sauce, I simply melted 2/3 cup chocolate chips with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the microwave in 30 second increments (stirring in between) just until melted. Drizzle over the top of the chilled cheesecake.
For a fancy touch, you can dip a few basil leaves in sugar and place on top of your cheesecake. This is a fun garnish, but I also think it's a nice touch because otherwise this cheesecake could easily get mistaken for key lime (in looks…NOT taste). Don't want to disappoint anyone. 🙂 Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.