Chocolate Glazed Praline Cheesecake with Candied Hazelnuts

Chocolate glazed praline cheesecake with candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

There are certain things that happen in a professional kitchen that strike me as magic. They seem unmanageably gorgeous and too difficult to attempt at home, but usually with a bit of guidance anyone can do it. These hazelnut candies are on the list. They look like delicate jewels, standing impossibly tall and thin. They are the perfect accessory to a sleek chocolate covered praline cheesecake and not at all difficult to make.

This cake is about as smooth and rich as is possible. To flavor the cheesecake I used a product by love n’ bake, which is just ground praline made into a paste. You can replace it with nutella (for even more chocolate) or even peanut butter (go smooth for this). The trick to the texture is baking in a water bath at a low temperature to prevent the cake from baking too fast.

Chocolate glazed praline cheesecake with candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Chocolate Ganache Glazed Praline Cheesecake with Candied Hazelnuts:

Chocolate Crust:

30 chocolate wafer cookies (1 1/4 cups ground in food processor) – or 15 oreos

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Praline Cheesecake:

11 ounces Love ‘N Bake Hazelnut Praline

2 1/2  pounds (40 ounces/1135 g) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache:

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Caramel Covered Hazelnuts:

12 hazelnuts

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon corn syrup

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor break up the cookies until they are a powder, then add the butter and process until the cookies are wet.

Chocolate cheesecake crust | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pat the crumbs into the bottom of a Round Cake Pan, 9 Inch x 3 Inch, lined with a parchment circle. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 320 degrees.

To mix the cheesecake: In a stand mixer cream the praline paste until smooth. The praline may be separated and rather stiff when you take it out of the can, but it should get very smooth before you add the other ingredients.

Add the cream cheese and mix on a low speed until it is well blended with the praline. Scrape the bowl often. Add the sugar, cream and then the eggs, mixing well after each. Add the vanilla.

Fill the prepared cake pan with the cheesecake mixture.

Cheesecake baking in water bath | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

bake in a waterbath for about 1 hour or until the cheesecake has set on top. It should no longer appear liquidy when the pan is gently shaken. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the water-bath. This brings the temp down slower and prevents deep cracks.

Chilled cheesecake in mold pan | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Refrigerate the cheesecake for several hours or overnight. Unmold the cheesecake by heating it over a flame on the stove for a few seconds, run a thin blade around the pan and then invert it onto a flat surface covered with plastic wrap. (For detailed picture of this process click here.) Invert the cheesecake onto a cardboard round that fits the bottom exactly. If the cardboard is too big it will show when you pour the ganache over the cake.

To make the ganache:

In a medium sized pot heat the cream until just steaming, but not boiling. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate and butter. shake the pot to make sure all the chocolate is submerged in the hot cream and allow to sit for about 3 minutes. Gently stir the ganache until it is completely smooth. Do not whip any air into it or the surface of your cake will not be smooth.

Place the cake on a cooling rack, set above a cookie sheet which is covered in parchment. This will catch any extra ganache.

Pouring chocolate glaze over cheesecake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Allow the ganache to thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the ganache is too thin it will just pour off the cake without coating well. It should be just above room temperature.

Start in the center and pour the ganache over the cake, then move to the outer edge and make sure the entire cake is covered.

Chocolate glazed cheesecake on cooling rack | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Very gently shimmy the cooling rack so that the top surface of the cake smooths out. let the cake sit until the ganache is set up. This can take about 30+ minutes.

Leftover chocolate ganache used for glaze | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

You will end up with lots of leftover ganache that can be refrigerated for about 1 week or frozen for a month.

To make the candied hazelnuts:

Candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

You will need long wooden skewers and a heavy cutting board to weigh them down on the edge of your counter. Place parchment or newspaper on the floor below where the hazelnuts will be suspended to catch the caramel drips.

Heat the hazelnuts in a pan for a minute or so to remove the skins more easily if yours are not blanched. Gently stick the skewer into the hazelnuts. Set aside.

To make the caramel:

Sugar, water and corn syrup in a pot | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil, without stirring. Once the mixture starts to caramelize remove from the stove and allow it to darken and thicken for about 10 minutes. Stirring on occasion so it won’t set up on the bottom of the pan.

Dipping hazelnuts in caramel | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once the caramel is thickened, dip the hazelnut into the caramel and lift it to see if the caramel is clinging. If the caramel just runs off then you may need to wait another minute and repeat.

Candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When the caramel is coating the hazelnut and dripping off in long strands then secure the skewer under the heavy cutting board, so the caramel can drip down.

Candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Let the hazelnuts sit until the caramel is well set, about 15 minutes.

Chocolate glazed praline cheesecake with candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Break off the caramel strands at the length you want. Gently twist the hazelnuts from the skewers. Decorate the top of your cake with the points way up in the air.

Slice of chocolate glazed praline cheesecake with candied hazelnuts | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Cut the cheesecake using a thin blade that has been dipped in hot water and wiped clean. Enjoy!

57 thoughts to “Chocolate Glazed Praline Cheesecake with Candied Hazelnuts”

  1. Wow, I am making dessert for my mother in laws 60th birthday. I was going to make the peanut butter tarte from Dorie Greenspan, but now I will make this. So elegant and beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration Zoe!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! You make it sound so easy. I’ve always made cheesecake in a springform pan. What if any, advantage is there to using just a cake pan?

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I was going to mention that you can use a springform pan, if you are familiar with baking in a water-bath. It requires that you seal the whole thing with foil first. I decided not to mention it because I don’t have any photos to show people what I mean. If you are used to doing it this way, then it will certainly work!

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  3. That is incredible, Melissa (my daughter) loves cheesecakes, I will try this exquisite cake!!! Yummy!!! thanks for all the things you are teaching me, especially your carrot cake, double yummy!!!
    Take care

  4. Absolutely spectacular! Zoe, thank you so much for sharing such a special dessert at a most perfect time of the year. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Maureen,

      You can use either nutella or peanut butter, obviously with a different flavor, but delicious. You could also make praline and grind it into a paste. There may also be other products for praline paste that I am not aware of.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Hi Zoe

    I think there might be a typo in your recipe (or I am going mad – which is possible!!)

    The ingredient list for the cheesecake provides for double cream. I could not see in your instructions when the cream should be added to the cheesecake batter?

    I’ve ad libbed and have a peanut butter version of your cheesecake in the oven.

    Cin

    1. Hi Cin,

      You are not going mad, it was my mistake. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter for the success of the cc when you put the cream in, as long as the batter is smooth.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  6. Hey Zoe,
    I want to make this cake for my friend’s birthday on Wednesday, but I have no where to find the Hazelnut praline. Will the recipe turn out fine if I don’t add the hazelnut praline?

    1. Hi Joanne,

      You may want to replace it with nutella, which is quite easy to get. If you don’t want that intense a flavor than add a serious amount of vanilla or perhaps cinnamon. The cheesecake base will lend itself to many flavors, but may be a bit dull without a little jazzing up!

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Jackie,

      It isn’t by brand it is by type of knife. A chefs knife tends to be thin at the blade, but then it gets thicker towards the back and handle, which makes it great for cutting meats. A fish knife is thinner, but generally too skinny. I have a very thin serrated bread knife that is perfect. http://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-Gourmet-7-Inch-Offset-Handle/dp/B00005U1TW/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1341835023&sr=8-10&keywords=offset+bread+knife This the one I have, but there are many out there like it.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. My hazelnut praline (two cans) arrived from Amazon today! And I found the answer to my question earlier…..(why did you not use a springform pan)…

    My sweetheart is going to LOOOOVVVVEEE me!

  8. Lovely 🙂 I’d like to use the candied hazlenuts idea for my own birthday cake next week. Thanks for sharing. Regards from Indonesia.

  9. I have had this recipe saved since it first appeared on your blog and finally decided to bake it this weekend as a Monday treat for my office. It turned out fabulously, but took much longer to cook than the 1 hour in the recipe. The post on the Cooking Channel website gives the cooking time as 1 3/4 to 2 hours, I’d say this is closer to the actual time required. Thanks.

  10. I made this and it is GORGEOUS! I live in England and we don’t get praline paste, so I made some (http://www.joepastry.com/2011/making-praline-paste/). I was worried that the texture of the cake wouldn’t be smooth enough with the praline, but it was gorgeous and you can really taste the hazelnuts. I also made the caramelized hazelnut topping. So much fun. I was doing it as a surprise for my boyfriend, but I think it would be much easier with two pairs of hands. They came out great! … Until it started to melt. I recommend letting them dry in a cool area. Still, they were slightly shorter and curved but still looked great. Very organic. Everyone was impressed! Thanks so much x

        1. Hi Dena,

          Is it setting up around the edges? Perhaps you have a cool part of the kitchen you can set it. As long as you used the same measurements I did, it will eventually set up.

          Thanks, Zoë

          1. Its milk chocolate since no one likes the slight bitter taste of semi sweet. I’d like to pour ans spread and do anything with it lol. Every time Ive attempted ganache the results have been the same even with 2:1 ratio. Sorry to be a bother but thank you for your patience.

          2. Hi Dena,

            Oh, that is the answer. Milk chocolate needs a different ratio of cream, since it already contains cream. You need less cream if you are using milk or white chocolate. You can try very gently heating this ganache and very gently heating some more chocolate and combine them. I recommend you use a double boiler to do this to avoid scorching the chocolate.

            Thanks, Zoë

          3. You are a genius!! Thank you soooo much! I made your cheese cake , mini style, for Valentine’s Day with the ganache and it was a hit! I ended up using 2 1/2:1 ration on the ganache and it came out perfectly! It use to be my kryptonite thank you so much. Now if only I can learn to master cut out sugar cookies lol. I’ll be browsing thru your recipes!

  11. Hi Zoe! I have planned to make the cheese cake so I’d like to clarify is it 2 1/2 pounds of cream cheese = 40 ounce or just 8 ounce I should use and if it 8 ounce of cream cheese is 1 cup of Nutella enough?!

      1. Hi! If I do it for 8 ounce of cream cheese what are the quantities of the other ingredients. Pls be kind enough to reply

        1. Hi Maryam,

          Are you trying to make a cheesecake for 2 servings? You will need to divide all the ingredients by 5, since you are only using 1/5 of the cream cheese. It’s not an easy number to divide this recipe by. You’d have an easier time calculating if you did a 1/4 recipe. You’ll also need to have a pan small enough to hold that small amount. Maybe a 4 or 6-inch round cake pan.

          Thanks, Zoë

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