I was inspired by a dessert that one of my aunts had made for us on a visit to New York during the holidays one year. She always made these beautiful rolled cakes in the shape of logs. This is a beautiful dessert that begins on the stove top and ends in the refrigerator.
I used a disposable plastic water bottle, whose top I sliced off, as the mold to shape it in into a cylinder, like a log. However, you can even use a loaf pan, that you have lined with some plastic wrap, which allows you to still have an elongated shape. I chose the cylinder shape to challenge myself a little!
You will need to plan ahead for this one, because it actually needs to set in the refrigerator the whole day, overnight. But it is worth it! And it would make a lovely dessert for guests at any holiday table, luncheon or tea.
I chose flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean for this dessert. The cheesecake is made with cream cheese, white chocolate, pistachios and black cherries. Fragranced with vanilla, orange zest and a touch of cardamom. And finally it is covered with a chocolate ganache, and rolled in a mixture of toasted pistachio, almonds and walnuts!
You will notice that the recipe itself doesn’t call for any sugar at all. They reason is because the chocolate chips are already sweetened. I used sugar free chocolate chips, but you can use whatever type of chocolate chips that you want! I think that that in itself is pretty exciting!
16 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 bags of white chocolate
1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil)
Pinch of cardamom
Zest of one orange
1 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
1 cup frozen cherries defrosted drained and chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk or dark chocolate bag (7 oz)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of mixed chopped pistachios, almonds, walnuts
Start by slicing the top off of a 32 ounce plastic bottle of water. Wash and set it aside. If you are using frozen cherries like I did, defrost them and discard of any extra liquid.
In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips, cream cheese and butter. Whisk it all together to thoroughly incorporate. When it is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, salt, cherries, orange zest and cardamom. Pour that into your bottle mold. Place that in the refrigerator standing up, until tomorrow.
When it is ready to be pulled from the mold, the mixture will have solidified completely. Then you will be able to take a box cutter and slice the bottle open to gently pull out your log.
Before you take it out of it mold however, you want to have chopped and roasted your nuts. Followed by having made the ganache.
Toast your chopped nuts in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring occasionally till they have gotten a little color to them, and you can smell their aroma. Remove them from the heat.
To make the ganache, you will simply warm up a cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and pour in your bag of chocolate chips. Cover it for a few minutes so that the heat will melt the chocolate. Then you will stir it to incorporate and you will magically have a ganache!
Allow it to cool for a bit. It will be ready to use when the chocolate ganache can stick to and coat a spoon.
In order to roll the log in the chocolate ganache and then the nuts, I organized myself with the use of two shallow pans. I first made sure that my log could fit properly in them so that I could roll it back and forth. I also lined the pan for the chocolate ganache with parchment so that if I had leftover ganache, I could collect it and store it in the refrigerator for the next dessert.
I also poked the log itself with two chopsticks to use as handles for rolling.
Then I simply rolled it first in the chocolate, and then followed with the nuts, and placed it back in the refrigerator for an hour to completely set.
We finally sliced a piece and enjoyed my handiwork!
Let me know if you try it.