This Brandy Alexander Cheesecake recipe is one I cherish very much. For every special occasion post-childhood, my mother would make this cake for me. It was always eagerly anticipated after a birthday meal or celebration. Based on the flavours of the classic Brandy Alexander cocktail which was popular in the early twentieth century, this cheesecake really is a crowd pleaser and a trip down memory lane to when creamy alcoholic cocktails were all the rage. I choose to make this cheesecake a little less sweet than most would prefer, but feel free to play around with the quantity of sugar and taste before allowing it to set to find your preference.
For the biscuit base
1 pack of chocolate digestive biscuits
100g hazelnuts (with the skins on)
75g melted butter
Pre-heat your oven to 180c. Toast the hazelnuts* until fragrant in the oven. Remove, and place in a dry dish towel. Rub them together to remove the outer skins.
Blitz the hazelnuts and biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter to make a dense paste.
Line the base of a 20cm tart ring with the biscuit mix and refrigerate.
*The flavour of hazelnuts with the skin on is better and more intense than the blanched ones. Most of the flavour sits right under the skin hence I prefer them to the more convenient option.
For the cheesecake
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
250g Crème fraiche
100g Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
200ml Whipping cream
1 tbsp gelatine powder
3 tbsp strong coffee
3 egg whites
Soften the cream cheese and crème fraiche with a spatula in a bowl. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Add the gelatine to the cold coffee and leave to soften.
Whip the cream until stiff and fold into cheese mixture.
Heat the coffee and gelatine over a low heat in a saucepan to allow it to dissolve. Do not let it boil. Add to the main mixture and mix in well with a whisk.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peak and fold into the mixture carefully maintaining the air bubbles as much as possible.
Pour the mixture into the tin with the biscuit base. Smooth the top with a palette knife and place in the refrigerator covered to set.
For the topping
1 cup cream
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
1tbsp Kahlua liqueur
1 tbsp Brandy (or more if you’d prefer)
2 tbsp icing sugar
Mix all the ingredients together and allow to stand for about an hour.
Pour into a stand mixer and whip up until thickened. Pour over the set cheesecake and smooth out. Place back in the fridge to firm up.
Before removing the cheesecake from the ring, glaze with chocolate ganache or just leave plain. Remove and garnish with chocolate shards, fresh berries and mint. The cake will last in the fridge for a couple of days – if you don’t devour it in one sitting!
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