This is, as far as I know, a family recipe. I've never seen anything quite like it in cookbooks or bakeries. What we're going to be making is a kind of sweet coffee cheesecake. This is what it will look like:
What You'll Need
- Tea biscuits, 3 packages (you should be able to find this in the ethnic section, I suppose you could use graham crackers in a pinch but they are much sweeter than tea biscuits)
- Coffee of your choice
- Whipping cream (1 cup)
- Vanilla pudding mix
- Ricotta cheese (about 500 g)
- Cream cheese (about 250 g)
- Bitter or semi-sweet cooking chocolate (1 candy-bar size)
- Halva (you can also find this in the ethnic section of your local grocer or you can just use sugar if you like)
- 4 teaspoons of butter
- Some sort of liquor for flavor and aroma (rum or brandy is recommended, I used Kahlua since that's all I had left)
- Cake pan
- Large mixing bowl
- A beater (I used an electric one, you'll see why) and a soft spatula
- Some rig for melting chocolate
- A measuring cup
- A basting brush
Step 1: Making the cheese filling
The cheese filling is the "meat" of the cake so to speak. This is the main source of sweetness and taste. Take your mixing bowl and put the pudding mix, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of whipping cream together.
Whip it all together and then add your cheeses.
Beat it to a smooth consistency (this is why you want an electric beater!).
Now go put it in the refrigerator while we start making the coffee and chocolate topping.
Step 2: The chocolate topping
First of all go set a little water boiling in your tea kettle. This is for the next step but you want to do it now. In the meantime we're going to make a little chocolate sauce.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that WE ARE NOT MAKING FROSTING! This is going to be a semi-sweet topping to give the cake a little zing and to play off the creamy sweetness of the cheese filling. Also we are going to be melting chocolate which is a bit tricky. If you use indirect heating you should be fine. I used a saucepan inside a larger saucepan full of boiling water. Go ahead and put your baking chocolate, butter (4 tspoons), halva (1/4 lb) or sugar (3-4 tspoons), and milk (3 tablespoons) and let it start melting:
Keep an eye on this and mix it every once in a while.
Step 3: Constructing the cake
Go ahead and make some coffee. Make it very strong, I used 4 teaspoons in one cup. Mix in your liquor of choice.
Now grab your cake pan and put down a layer or biscuits. Try to cover the whole pan. You'll need to do a little surgery on the biscuits to get them into the corners and plug any "holes".
Now take your basting brush and your coffee mix and go hog wild on the biscuits. Don't be stingy, really soak 'em, you should have plenty of coffee. The biscuits will probably slide around but just prod them back in place with your brush.
Now grab your cheese filling from the fridge and pour half of it on the top of the biscuits. Use your spatula to smooth it out as best you can.
Now put down another biscuit layer, coffee it up, and put on the rest of the cheese. After that put on a third biscuit layer and soak it as well (it's a lot easier to soak the biscuits when they are being held by the cheese).
Step 4: Puttin' on the chocolate
At this point your chocolate sauce should be all melted. If not, give it a little more time. Your sauce should be smooth but not runny. Mix it with the spoon. If it's too sticky add some more butter and milk. I made the mistake of using too much chocolate and got a mess on my hands. Your sauce should flow like pancake mix. Once you've got it just right, go ahead and spread it on top of your cake. Your brush may come in useful here. Now feel free to garnish it if you like. Since my sauce was too thick and tore up my top biscuit layer I crumbled some more biscuits on top.
AND THAT'S IT!
Put the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours (I'd say 4 hours minimum.) Once it's ready you can enjoy a slice with a cup of milk, coffee, tea, whatever.
Total cooking time: 90 minutes
"Baking" time: 4 hours (I just left it in the fridge overnight.)