If we could use one word to describe this cake, it would be “decadent”! This phenomenal creation by Julie Le Clerc embraces Valrhona chocolate in three different aspects – the crust, the filling and the ganache topping. The result is a creamy and delicious dessert that will be sure to please.

Serves 12

Crust:
150g digestive biscuits
2 Tbsp Valrhona cocoa powder
¼ cup roasted Hazelz hazelnuts
2 Tbsp Valrhona grué de cacao
60g unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:
250g Valrhona Satilia Noire chocolate fèves
750g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp Heilala vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup soft brown sugar, tightly packed
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup cream, at room temperature 

Chocolate ganache and decoration:
100g Valrhona Manjari chocolate fèves
200ml cream
30g butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
Extra roasted Hazelz hazelnuts, to decorate
Valrhona chocolate pearls, to decorate 

Crust:

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Grease the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin. In a food processor bowl, place biscuits, cocoa, hazelnuts and grué de cacao. Process these to form crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Use the back of a spoon to press crumb mixture firmly into the base of the prepared tin and set aside.

Cheesecake:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or microwave in short bursts. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and both sugars and beat well to combine. Add in the eggs and cream and mix briefly, until just combined. Fold in the chocolate. Pour mixture over the crumb base and smooth the surface.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the centre of the cake is set but still slightly wobbly. The cake will set completely as it cools. Transfer from oven to a wire rack. Immediately run the top of a knife around the sides of the tin, to prevent the top from cracking. Cool completely in the tin, then transfer cheesecake to the fridge for at least 4 hours, to firm.

Chocolate ganache and decoration:

Place chocolate in a bowl. Place cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate and set aside for a few minutes to melt. Gently whisk together until smooth and glossy. Whisk in butter until melted and incorporated. Set aside, at room temperature, to cool and thicken to a pouring consistency.

Pour ganache over cold cheesecake, allowing some drips to run down the sides. Decorate with hazelnuts and chocolate pearls. Cut using a thin-bladed, sharp knife dipped in boiling water, wiping the knife clean between each cut.

Recipe courtesy of Julie Le Clerc

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