This World Nutella Day, Try This Nutella Cheesecake

Nutella Cheesecake.
Need I say any more?

Cheesecake is the best American invention, perhaps after sliced bread and brownies. Top that with Nutella, and you have a soul gratifying dessert.

War-time Origins

Nutella owes its origin to Pasta Gianduja [gee-ahn-doo-jah], a Piedmontese chocolate hazelnut spread that was created during the Napoleonic Wars. Gianduja contains about 30% hazelnut paste, and was invented by Turin-based chocolate manufacturer Caffarel around 1852, under the brand name ‘Gianduia’. This was originally sold as a solid block, akin to modern chocolate bars.  

Truer words have not been spoken.

The Ferrero Twist

A century later around 1951, Pietro Ferrero, a baker based in Alba, Piedmont started selling his own creamier version of Pasta Gianduja, which he called Supercrema

The product was then revamped by his son Michele Ferrero, who wanted to expand the market throughout Europe. He modified its composition and renamed it ‘Nutella’. April 20, 1964 marks the day when the first jar of Nutella departed from the factory in Alba. This revamped, rebranded product was an instant success and the rest, as they say, was history. 

Mr. Worldwide

As popular it was in Europe, Nutella was gladly embraced by the Americans when it reached ashore in 1983. To say that Nutella was wildly successful in the US would be a fucking understatement. Americans have adopted the chocolate hazelnut spread to the point it is mistaken for an American product instead of an Italian one. Besides the US, Nutella is marketed and sold worldwide.

Nutella is a popular choice with breakfast items such as toast, English muffins, waffles and pancakes. It finds its application to a variety of desserts. Here’s my favorite application – Nutella Cheesecake. 

Nutella Cheesecake

A close-up of Nutella Cheesecake
This the stuff dreams are made of.
  • Servings6 – 8
  • Time50 minutes + chilling
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

a) Base

  • 200g crackers/ digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter + extra for greasing

b) Filling

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 150g Nutella 
  • 30g butter, room temperature 
  • 100mL whipped cream
  • 25g gelatin
  • 5mL vanilla extract

c) Garnish

  • 50g Nutella 
  • 30g hazelnuts 

Procedure

a) Pre-preparation

  1. Line an 8″ springform tin with parchment paper. Grease the insides of the parchment with some softened butter.
  2. To a Ziploc bag, add the crackers/ biscuits and crush them using a rolling pin until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and Nutella. 
  4. Sieve the icing sugar so as to get rid of the lumps.
  5. Soak the gelatin, set aside.
  6. Toast the hazelnuts in a hot pan for a couple minutes. Let cool and chop roughly. 

b) Preparation

i) Base

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. Add the crushed crackers/ biscuits to the melted butter, cook for a few seconds and remove from heat.
  2. Once cooled enough to a workable temperature, add the mixture to the lined springform tin.
  3. Using a flat-based cup or a spatula, spread the mixture evenly. Refrigerate until set.

ii) Filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese and sifted icing sugar until light and smooth.
  2. Add the softened Nutella and butter, mix well.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the soaked gelatin gently over low heat. Once completely melted, add vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
  4. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream. If your whipped cream is too thick, give it a rigorous whisk.
  5. Gently pour in the melted gelatin, whisking continuously so as to avoid lumps.
  6. Pour the filling into the prepared springform tin. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

c) Finishing

A slice of Nutella CHeesecake
*Drools*

Finish the cheesecake by topping it with some more Nutella. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts. Cut and serve.

Notes

  • I generally prefer to use round springform tins for cakes and cheesecakes. You might use square tins, or even sheet pans. Adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • To increase the decadence of the cheesecake, I use butter cookies in the base. You may use whichever type of cookies/ biscuits you prefer. [I once used dark chocolate cookies.]
  • Pressed for time and no cream cheese on hand? Use unflavored Greek yoghurt [or a chocolate flavored one, if available]. Tie it in a muslin cloth and get rid of excess moisture. Adjust the sugar accordingly.
  • Save on time by using pre-whipped cream. If not, whip about 50-75 mL of whipping cream until it doubles in volume and achieves soft peaks. Chill for 5-10 minutes before folding it into the cream cheese.
  • Make it boozy! Add a shot [or two 😉] of hazelnut liqueur to the cream cheese batter.

What Wine to Pair with?

Something a sweet as Nutella requires an ever sweeter wine. Try a Sauternes, or a Riesling. If nothing else, pair it with a Ruby Port. 

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