There was a shiny chocolate ganache glaze, which added more chocolatey goodness and (shhh!) filled and covered the cracks** in my cheesecake.
Finally, there were strawberries, artfully arranged on top of the glaze. I unfortunately have no evidence of the "artfully arranged" part, as I was in a rush to get the cheesecake to a party.
The result? A ridiculously decadent cheesecake. It was so rich that none of us could finish our relatively small slices, but believe me when I say that we really, really wanted to.
* I really, truly was going to follow the cheesecake recipe and went to the store for graham crackers. However, I passed by the Teddy Grahams on my way to the graham crackers and, rather impulsively, grabbed a box, remembering that Smitten Kitchen swears by them.
** I've heard several theories as to why cracks occur in cheesecakes. One is because of the sudden change of temperature when it goes from the oven to the open air. I tried to prevent this by turning off the oven about 15 minutes before it was set and keeping the cheesecake to cook in the slowly cooking oven. I then opened the oven door a crack to let some hot air escape. The other reason is because it is overbaked, which could very well be the reason why the cheesecake cracked. You would never be able to tell by eating it, though, because it was rich and creamy and not at all dry.
The recipe says it serves 12, but I cut it into 16ths.
Crust adapted from Gourmet, November 1999
Filling adapted from Bon Appetit, January 1998
Ganache glaze adapted from Smitten Kitchen
10 ounces ground chocolate Teddy Grahams
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
Stir all the ingredients together and press into the bottom and sides of buttered springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to two hours.
4 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour
5 large eggs
Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt until very smooth. Beat in flour. Add eggs and beat until just blended. Pour batter into crust.
Bake cheesecake until outer 2-inch edge of cake is puffed and center is just set, about 55 minutes. When cool, top with glaze.
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream