The culinary geniuses of Ihop have taught me a very important lesson: Nutella hearts strawberries. Normally I don't like to adulterate my dessert with healthy things like fruit, but these just pair so well. Wait, did I just say that? Ok, well it's true.
This is the kind of recipe that I like to call Frankenrecipe. Meaning, I took parts out of my favorite recipes and put them all together to make one monstrous sugar-coma-inducing disaster. This one has three parts: The cheesecake, the frosting, and the sauce.
The cheesecake, being an exacting creature, should be measured out just right. But the sauce and the frosting I didn't measure. So you'll just have to guess and be creative.
- package Oreo cookies
- 1/4 cup butter
- three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1/2 cup milk, room temp
- one 13-ounce jar Nutella, room temp
- To make the crust, first remove a handful of Oreos from the package. Eat them, if you haven't already. (You don't need the entire package of Oreos for the crust. And besides, you know you want to.) Crush up the rest of the Oreos. I just close the package and smush them with my fists. Put the crushed pieces in the mixer and add 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix, then pat into a greased springform pan. Cover the bottom and partway up the sides. It's going to be a very chunky crust, but it's better than the standard pre-baked crust because it still tastes like Oreo cookies in the end.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix all other ingredients except eggs until there are no lumps, but try not to overmix. Too much air will make the cheesecake crack during baking. Not that we really care, since we'll be covering it in other yummy stuff.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time, slowly, just until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the crust/pan. Put it on the top rack of the oven. On the bottom rack, put a deep baking dish like a roasting pan and fill it with hot water. This helps the cheesecake stay moist during baking. Some people put the cheesecake directly into the water bath after surrounding the outside with aluminum foil. This has never worked for me because I've never found foil wider than my pan, and so no matter how many layers I use, water always leaks in. Anyway I can't really see how it matters. SO there. Bake for about 80 minutes, or until the edge and top is firm but the center still jiggles a little.
When it's done baking, turn off the oven and leave the door cracked open for a couple hours. This way it can cool more slowly to avoid cracking. Again, not that we care. But still. When you're ready to put it in the fridge, use plastic wrap directly on the top of the cake instead of just over the pan.
While the cheesecake is baking, you can get the strawberry sauce ready. Make sure to set aside a few strawberries for garnish!
Fresh Strawberry Sauce
- Pint of strawberries
- Stick of melted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- In a shallow pan on high heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the butter.
- Add the chopped strawberries and cook about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in a splash of liquor. The first time I saw this recipe, I think it called for orange liquor. It probably brings out the strawberry flavor or something. Well all I had was amaretto, and let me tell you, it worked juuust fine!
Now for the frosting part, you can make a stiff, icing-ish frosting, or you can do a poured ganache. Either way, it's best to wait just before serving the cheesecake to make this part.
- half stick butter, room temp
- jar of Nutella
- powdered sugar
Sorry I don't know the exact measurements. I started with the whole jar of Nutella and added the rest in small amounts until I liked the consistency. For frosting only the top of the cake, you should probably start with just a half jar of Nutella.
If you'd rather have a poured ganache, which is what I usually do for cheesecakes, simmer some Nutella, butter, and cream in a saucepan. Pour it over the top, letting it drip down the sides. Very elegant.