When I was growing up in Vermont we celebrated St. Patricks Day at school by dressing up in green. It was fun, although green really isn’t my color, but I had no idea what any of it meant. It never occurred to me that it went beyond shamrock knee-highs, until I went to Chicago on March 17th, quite by accident. The city shut down at noon and people flooded the streets wearing green and carrying beer of the same color. Even the mighty river was dyed green in honor of the 4th century Saint. Although few people probably know the origins of the festivities, we still honor this religious man all these centuries later by wearing green and celebrating Irish culture. Even for those of us who have no ties to Ireland, it is too fun to miss out on.
This mint cheesecake is my nod to the day. It seemed fitting to go green, but I wanted to do something particularly fun. The stripes are easy to create and make for a terrific “Wow” moment when you slice into the cake. The trick to the color is a dash or two of food coloring. I do use fresh mint in the batter, which adds a bright, fresh flavor, but on its own, it is honestly a bit lack luster in color. The chocolate crust makes the whole thing taste like a super-lush “thin mint.”
24 chocolate wafer cookies (homemade or store bought)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
The Mint Cheesecake:
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
2 drops green food coloring
1½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
1½ teaspoons mint extract
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor break up the cookies until they are powder. Add the butter and pulse until it just sticks together. Firmly pat the chocolate crust into an 8-inch spring form pan. Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and then cool on rack.
Reduce the oven to 300°F.
To make mint-cream for cheesecake:
Clean the leaves and remove the stems of the mint.
In a blender or food processor add the mint…
and heavy cream.
Pulse until the mint is well blended in the cream. Add the food coloring. Set aside.
Mix the cheesecake batter:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and sugar on medium low speed. Scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl and make sure it is very smooth. Mix in the sour cream. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing well between each one. Add the mint extract and whiskey and mix until well combined.
Divide the cheesecake batter into two bowls and add the mint-cream mixture to one of the bowls.
Add about 1 cup of the white cheesecake batter to the prepared pan. Then add 1 cup of the mint batter in the center, do not spread it out too much.
Add about ¾ cup of the white batter, followed by ¾ cup of the mint batter.
Add about ½ cup of the white batter, followed by ½ cup of the mint batter.
Add about ¼ cup of the white batter, followed by ¼ cup of the mint batter.
Add about 2 tablespoons of the white batter, followed by 2 tablespoons of the mint batter.
Tightly wrap the spring form pan with foil and then bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath, tented with foil. Be sure the water you pour into the pan is nice and hot, so that it gets up to the oven temperature as soon as possible. This will help the cake to bake evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, but check it after 30 minutes. It is done when the center is set and giggles like jell-o. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, still sitting in the water bath.
Remove the pan from the water and foil.
Mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread the mixture over the top of the cheesecake and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Before the cake cools, run a paring knife around the edge so that the cake can shrink away from the pan without cracking.
The effect is cool on the outside…
and even better when you slice into it!
Related post: Mint Macarons