Perhaps you’ve hesitate to make cheesecake for a small group because they always turn out too big for just a few people. Try this slim, 8-inch milk chocolate cheesecake for a smaller portion. It’s rich but not too chocolaty, and the filling is only about 1 ½ inches tall, which means each portion is lighter than its full-sized cousins.
3 cups whole vanilla wafers
¼ cup melted salted butter
1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
2-3 oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp. Dutch process cocoa
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
For the Crust
Preheat oven to 325°. Spray an 8-inch spring form pan with no stick spray and set aside.
Grind the vanilla wafers in your food processor. You should have about 1 ½ cups of cookie crumbs from 3 cups of cookies. Add the melted butter to the crumbs and pulse until the butter is incorporated.
Press the crumb mixture into the prepared 8-inch pan, about half way up the sides and covering the bottom. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.
While the crust freezes, make the filling.
For the Filling
Place the ricotta cheese and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until the cheese mixture is smooth.
Add the eggs and the crenulated sugar and beat until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the cream, salt, cocoa, flour and vanilla. Beat at low speed until smooth and filling is a uniform color.
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the batter.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until just set. The center should be a little jiggly—it will set up as it cools.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Cool to room temperature, then cover loosely with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the outside ring and serve with a garnish such as slightly sweet whipped cream, fresh berries or bittersweet chocolate curls.
- This recipe calls for whole milk products, but experiment with the lower-fat versions. Add an extra egg or an extra spoon of flour to make sure the cheesecake filling holds together when using low-fat versions of ricotta cheese and cream cheese.
- The frozen crust method I used comes from George Geary’s book, “125 best Cheesecake Recipes,” ISBN 0778800547. This edition is in print and is available at your favorite bookstore. I recommend Cookbooks by Janet Jarvits in Pasadena, where you’ll find thousands of cookbooks on every kind of cuisine you can imagine. Search Janet’s catalog here.
- For the freshest ricotta cheese, visit Claro’s Italian Market in Arcadia, Temple City or one of its many Southern Calif9rnia stores. For a list of locations, visit the Claro’s website.