After the success of my first cheesecake, I decided to try another one. Remembering the cannoli cheesecake I ordered at my company holiday dinner, I searched for recipes that used ricotta cheese instead of sour cream. Then looked for add-in ideas, ultimately landing on an Oreo cheesecake with Oreo crust and chocolate ganache topping, combining bits and pieces from various recipes.
My confidence was probably a bit too high, though, because I forgot the importance of the water bath in all my hubris. So, when I checked the oven with 20 minutes of baking left, the sides were raised and beginning to burn but the middle was still wet and loose. I covered the pan with aluminum foil and finished baking until I felt it was finished. It was definitely not pretty, and I worried that the taste would be compromised.
Although I was not entirely sure this cheesecake was ruined and because I’m a perfectionist, I scrambled to the grocery store to grab ingredients for a second attempt as the first attempt cooled. I actually purchased another springform pan, too. Turns out, as I had concluded previously, the water bath is truly the most critical step. The second cheesecake, with water bath, was perfect.
In my opinion, this cheesecake was much better than the one baked with sour cream. It was creamier and fluffier than the other cheesecake, but I’m happy to have discovered two awesome base cheesecake recipes. The Oreo crust was amazing and maybe even the best part (see comments below). The ganache topping was just OK, though, and I will probably try using a different recipe in the future.
Turns out, the first cheesecake was OK, too, and I kept it for later consumption (don’t judge me). The crust was so good that I binged on the entire crust of the remnants.
30 Oreo crumbs
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
24 oz. Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese, softened at room temperature (do not use light)
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream (full fat)
15 oz. ricotta cheese (full fat)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
18 Oreo crumbs (10 fine crumbs, 8 chopped pieces)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. powdered sugar.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly butter 9″ springform pan (this all fit in a 9″, but 10″ would work too).
- For the crust: Use Cuisinart food processor to blend Oreos into fine crumbs. Melt butter and, in separate bowl, mix well into the Oreo crumbs. Pour the buttered crumbs into the springform pan, and firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan (don’t go up the sides). Cover and refrigerate until cheesecake is ready.
- For the cheesecake: Use Cuisinart food processor to blend 10 Oreos into fine crumbs, and set them aside in a separate bowl. Use Cuisinart food processor to blend 8 Oreos into chopped pieces, and set them aside in the same separate bowl.
- In Cuisinart food processor (no need to wash in between steps), beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and heavy cream until smooth (maybe :30 to 1:00 or less). Add in eggs, vanilla, and ricotta, and mix until incorporated. Pour into separate bowl.
- Fold Oreos into cheesecake mixture, and pour into prepared springform pan.
- Wrap bottom and sides of the springform pan with aluminum foil, and place it onto a baking sheet with 1″ raised edges. Pour water onto the baking sheet approximately 0.5-1″ up sides of springform pan (water bath). Place in oven. (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP)
- Bake for 60-90 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake begins to turn light brown. The sides will likely appear cooked, but the center of cheesecake will likely still be jiggly and will continue to cook/settle as the cheesecake cools out of the oven. Cool thoroughly.
- Once cheesecake has cooled completely, cover and chill in refrigerator overnight.
- For the ganache: Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm but not hot. Chill until ready to serve.
- Once chilled, run a metal knife/spatula along the side of the cheesecake to loosen, and remove the side of the pan to serve.