An Italian-inspired dessert from celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. "This cake is embarrassingly easy and, although I first started making it last Christmas — a lot — reckoning that it was just the sort of count-no-calorie indulgence that the season demands, I have since decided that something this good, and this speedily simple to conjure into being, needs to be in our lives all year round. Don't be tempted to let the cheesecake come to room temperature before serving. It slices and eats better with a bit of refrigerator chill on it. However, you must have both Nutella and cream cheese at room temperature before making it."
10 oz. graham crackers (about 16 sheets or 2-1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tbsp soft unsalted butter
1 x 13-oz. jar (about 370 g) Nutella or equivalent chocolate hazelnut spread, at room temperature
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts*
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 x 9" springform cake pan
* To simplify your life a little, try to buy the hazelnuts already chopped and toasted.
Step 1: Break the crackers into the bowl of a food processor, then add the butter and 1 tbsp of Nutella and blitz until the mixture starts to clump. Add 3 tbsp of the toasted hazelnuts, and continue to pulse until you have a damp, sandy mixture.
Step 2: Tip this into your springform pan and press it into the base, using either your hands or the back of a spoon. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you get on with the filling.
Step 3: Beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth and soft, then patiently scrape the rest of the Nutella out of its jar and into the cream cheese mixture and continue beating until combined.
Step 4: Take the springform pan out of the refrigerator. Carefully scrape and smooth the Nutella mixture over the cracker crumb base and scatter the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top to cover. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the refrigerator for best results, unspringing the cake from the pan, still on its base, just before you eat. To cut it, dip a sharp knife in cold water, wiping it and dipping again between each cut. And don't worry: it may look disappointingly flat when whole, but when sliced, its dark depths are revealed.
See more recipes from Nigella Lawson.
Reprinted with permission from Nigella Lawson's Nigellissima (2013 Knopf Canada).