Deconstructed Nutella Cheesecake

Anyone who’s tried Nutella knows just how addicting it can be—I’ll eat it with a spoon right out of the jar. It perfectly mixes hazelnut and chocolate together in a creamy spread that is, frankly, absolutely delicious. No wonder there are Nutella cafés popping up across the country.

But not enough people know how delicious Frangelico is, and that needs to change. Frangelico is an Italian hazelnut liqueur, perfect not just for a sweet cocktail but also for a decadent dessert like this.

This cheesecake, like most that I make, has a simple base. Over the years, I’ve made countless cheesecakes from various recipes, trying out different methods and ingredient proportions. Yet the recipe from the very first cheesecake I ever made (with a slight modification) is still my go-to.

The cake comes out just the right density, and not overpoweringly sweet either (as opposed to the kind you’ll find at restaurants such as the Cheesecake Factory). Which is also why you’ll notice some similarities between this cheesecake and our guava cheesecake recipe, or for that matter any of the future cheesecakes we publish here. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You’ll find that even though this cheesecake was inspired by Nutella, it is nowhere near as sweet and decadent as the original spread. Instead, it’s light and refreshing in flavor and texture, but still scratches that chocolate-hazelnut itch. 

cheesecake_nutella_web-1

Crust:

  • 12 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (or 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325.

Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan. Finely grind graham crackers and sugar in a food processor (skip this step if you’re using graham cracker crumbs). Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix in the melted butter.

Press crumbs onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes while you’re making the filling.

Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Frangelico liqueur
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Measure Frangelico into a glass measuring cup, adding eggs and vanilla. Beat the mixture into cream cheese until smooth.

Transfer the filling to the crust-lined springform pan. In the oven, place a baking pan full of water on the bottom shelf underneath the cheesecake pan. (The water creates steam, which helps the cake to bake evenly. Don’t forget it!)

Bake until the edges of the filling are puffed up and the center is just set, about 50 minutes. The top will look a little golden. Cool on rack.

Topping:

  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  • Flakey sea salt

Once the cheesecake has cooled, take a pinch or two of flakey sea salt and sprinkle it over the cheesecake.

Next, melt chocolate in a small bowl (we did this in the microwave, but you may use whatever method you like). Take a small spoon, dip it into the chocolate, and flick the spoon back and forth across the cheesecake. This will create thin lines of chocolate across the top, which will cool and harden slightly.

Place the cake into the fridge. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours (can be prepared 1 day ahead).

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