Total Time
2hrs 35mins
Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins

This is THE cheesecake to make for a celebration. It's a bit of work, but the actual cheesecake must be made 2 days before serving, and the chocolate leaf garnish, a day ahead. It is gorgeous and your guests will be awed. A hint of orange from the Grand Marnier liqueur used to scent the chocolate.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. For crust: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F; place cookies, walnuts, sugar and chocolate in processor; process until finely chopped; add butter and process until moist crumbs form; transfer crumbs to a 10 inch springform pan; Press on bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan; set on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes; transfer to rack and cool; maintain oven temperature.
  2. For filling: Melt unsweetened chocolate, stir until smooth; cool slightly; beat cream cheese with ½ cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated; transfer 2 ½ cups plain batter to a medium-sized bowl and set aside; add brown sugar to batter remaining in large bowl and beat until combined; mix corn syrup, then melted chocolate into this batter; pour 2/3 cup of this batter into a small bowl and set aside; pour remainder of batter in big bowl into crust; set on cookie sheet and bake until filling is barely set, about 15 minutes; cool 5 minutes; scald cream with orange and lemon zests in small saucepan; remove from heat; add white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; cool slightly; pour white chocolate mixture to reserved 2 ½ cups batter in medium bowl and stir; mix in liqueur; starting at outside edge, carefully spoon white batter over chocolate layer; set on cookie sheet and bake until sides are puffed and center moves only slightly when shaken, 35-40 minutes; cool 5 minutes; spoon reserved chocolate batter in the small bowl by tablespoonfuls into the center of white chocolate layer; using back of spoon, spread evenly to within ½ inch of cake edge; set on cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes; transfer to rack to cool; using small, sharp knife, cur around edge of pan sides to loosen; cool cheesecake completely in pan; ccover and refrigerate when completely cooled (prepare 2 days before you plan to serve this).
  3. For dark and white chocolate leaves: Line 2 cookie sheets with foil; place semisweet chocolate and ½ tsp Crisco in small bowl; melt; using small metal (offset works best) spatula or back of spoon, spread thin layer of chocolate over veined underside of 6 leaves, being careful not to drip any chocolate onto other side of leaf; [lace on 1 cookie sheet; chill until set, about 5 minutes; spread second, thin layer of chocolate on each leaf, remelting chocolate if necessary; refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Do the same with white chocolate.
  5. Starting at stem end, gently peel leaves off, leaving only chocolate imprint (can be prepared 1 day ahead; refrigerate in single layers in container).
  6. To make orange threads: Using vegetable peeler, remove orange peel in large strips; cut strips into fine, long julienne; blanch 30 seconds; drain well; dry thoroughly on paper towels (can be prepared 1 day ahead).
  7. To make whipped cream topping: Beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form; add liqueur and beat until stiff peaks form.
  8. To assemble this masterpiece: Release sides of pan from cheesecake; spoon whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with large star tip; pipe decorative border around edge of cake; set alternating white and dark chocolate leaves at a slight angle (with 1 edge barely inserted into cream) atop cream border and into dark part of cake; arrange orange threads decoratively on cake, curling them by giving them a couple of twists.
  9. Be brave enough to actually cut into this beauty cause it tastes delicious as well as being so gorgeous!

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