Once upon a time, "cheesecake" was the word used to describe slightly risque photos of young starlets. Apparently this slang was adopted because the original term "pin-up" came to be considered rude. Hard to imagine, but then it's also hard to imagine that those photos were ever thought questionable.
On the other hand, "cheesecake" seems like an excellent substitute. What other word would so evoke the sweet, the luscious, the tempting? Despite the temptations, I had pretty much given up making cheesecake until it occurred to me to make one half-sized. A full-size cheesecake just make an awful lot - maybe 20 servings? Even the most ardent dessert devotee will have trouble polishing that off.
This is hands-down the favorite cheesecake recipe here at the Half-Size office. It is a white chocolate cheesecake in a dark chocolate cookie crust, topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache. If you are not such a chocolate purist, you can also garnish this with a few raspberries. But here at Headquarters, we often take our chocolate straight up.
Making this cheesecake is not difficult. It is time-consuming, because part of the secret of its silky texture is long baking at a low temperature. Definitely not something I make very often, but worth it for a special occasion. This cheesecake is named after the pin-up queen, Betty Grable.
If you use gluten-free Jane cookies, this will be a gluten-free cheesecake.
This cheesecake takes hours to bake, and more hours to cool – so it's definitely not something you whip together at the last minute. On the other hand, the actual labor involved is not high, and the payoff is superb. Pin-up worthy, indeed.
For maximum visual impact, you can extend the crust all the way up the sides of the pan. If you are successful in this endeavor, you will have a cake that looks completely black on the outside, with a pure white interior. This is pretty, but the effort involved seems excessive to me, so I usually don't bother. So far, no one has complained.
Because this recipe contains rather a lot of white chocolate, it is worthwhile buying a good brand. Many "white baking bars" contain no chocolate at all, and will provide a disappointing flavor in baking. I often use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Premium Baking Bars, as they are easy to find at my grocery store. I've also had good results with other premium brands, such as Green and Blacks and Lindt.
This cheesecake is a small version of "White Chocolate Cheesecake" from Death by Chocolate. The original recipe makes at least 20 servings, and I had pretty much given up making it, because it was heartbreaking to put so much work into something and then throw most of it away when it got stale. The smaller version is definitely something I'm willing to make more often.