Just in time for those of you considering less-traditional Thanksgiving desserts.
Killer Chocolate Cheesecake
from Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbotham
9-oz package chocolate wafers, broken into large pieces with your hands
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (no more than 70% cocoa--I used a mixture of half 60% and half 70%)
1/4 C unsalted butter
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 C sugar
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 1/2 C sour cream, at room temperature
2 t pure vanilla extract
Before starting anything else, get the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs out so they can come to room temperature for a couple of hours. Then melt the chocolate and butter for the filling in a double boiler or bain-marie (steel bowl set over barely simmering water), whisking until smooth, then whisking in cocoa powder and removing from the heat to cool to room temperature.
Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven, and preheat it to 350. Butter a 9-inch tall (3" deep) springform pan and wrap the outside with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Have a roasting pan (big enough to hold the springform pan in about an inch and a half of water) ready, and put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.
Pulse the chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the melted butter and process until just blended. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set, then let cool on a wire rack.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer, starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add salt, then beat in the chocolate mixture until just smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. If you aren't too nervous about the raw eggs, find a helper to lick the beater.
Transfer the filling to the springform pan. Set the pan in the roasting pan, place it in the oven, and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is almost set but still slightly jiggly; do not overbake, as the cheesecake will firm as it cools. If you really, really think it's too jiggly, bake for an additional five minutes but no longer (I did an extra 10 and regretted it). Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the cheesecake cool in the water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove the springform pan from the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Remove the foil and refrigerate the cheesecake, loosely covered, until thoroughly chilled, 12 hours or overnight.
To serve, let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the pan sides, smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a butter knife, and cut into wedges. Very small wedges--this thing is RICH. An inch is about perfect, so this cheesecake can serve at least two dozen people.