It is not often that make big, extravagant cheesecakes. Instead, I prefer to spend my time trying to perfect French basics, such as croissants and delicious butter loaded pastries. Now that these are available in abundance (and at only 1€ a peice), my desire to make them is no longer there. I spent this weekend in a small French village called Ambert with my boyfriend’s family who have never tried cheesecake before. It seemed the perfect opportunity to make my ultra decadent Ferrero Rocher Mascarpone Cheesecake.
I feel that I should note here, that this recipe is the result of several hours of frustration in French supermarkets, unable to find what we consider in Australia to be basic baking ingredients. It was never designed to be gelatin free or mascarpone based, this was just the consequence of another unsuccessful shopping trip. My advice for anyone thinking of moving to France, is to be prepared to have love/hate relationship with your local supermarket. When I go to the supermarket, I have a list of exact ingredients that I need for a recipe. The problem is 9 out 10 times, you will not find what you need. It’s at this moment where you either have to be innovative or drop your basket (if you were lucky enough to find one) and storm out of the supermarket in frustration. I have done both. I now know to come prepared; I have two shopping list, one with the original items I want and one with back up plan, and in addition, I have Google Translate loaded and ready to go in my pocket. While Google Translate can be very helpful, it can also lead to a lot of embarrassment when asking for help (once again, if you are lucky enough to find someone). Yep it turns out that brown sugar is not sucre brun, its vergeoise, just like baking power is not poudre à pâte it’s levure chimique and nope, self raising flour is not farine auto de sensibilisation, it’s farine de blé pour gâteaux…. thanks Google Translate! But, desperate times call for desperate measures and occasionally I must admit that google translate saves the day.
So, you have taken the time to write two shopping lists, you’ve been translating all morning, all should run smoothly, right? Well, not exactly. You now need to find the items, and trust me these items are just as well hidden as the employees. The only assistance you are likely to receive, is from charcuterie counter, where they slice your jambon as thick as door wedges and charge you close to 20€ for four slices. My advice for finding your items is be prepared to search everywhere. You’ll be very surprised where you find things. Looking for bicarbonate soda? Try the pharmacy! Peanut butter? Try Hema, a homewares store! Rolled oats? Try the health food store! Food shopping is more often than not an onerous duty that occasionally forces me to admit that I miss the simplicity and familiarity of things at home. Luckily, this feeling never last too long and I must admit that food shopping in France is not always a terrible experience. When I’m not in a hurry or looking for something specific, I love slowly perusing the aisles discovering new delicacies and filling up my basket with new cheeses to try. Anyway, enough supermarket talk, here’s the recipe!
For the base
300g of digestive biscuits or Oreos, crushed
125g of butter, melted
For the filling-
300ml of mascarpone
500g of full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
8 Ferrero Rocher chocolates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of icing sugar
200g of Nutella
Ferrero Rocher chocolates
Method1. Grease and line a springform cake tin.
2. Base: Mix crushed biscuits with melted butter until biscuits are evenly coated with butter and tip into the bottom of lined cake tin. Press down firmly so it’s nice and level and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
3. Filling: Whisk cream cheese until smooth, then fold in the mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla and chopped Ferrero Rochers until fully combined. Spoon onto prepared base and smooth with a spatula. Leave this is the fridge for at least an hour before you add the Nutella topping.
5. Topping: in the microwave or in a saucepan on low heat, heat the Nutella until it has a runny consistency and pour over the cheesecake and decorate with left over chocolates. Allow to rest in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Tip: To cut beautiful clean slices, heat knife under hot water first.