Chris Erasmus may be a local—he grew up near Franschhoek's Le Quartier Français, where he's now sous-chef—but his tangy and light espresso-spiked cheesecakes have international appeal.
Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
8 ounces crème fraîche
2/3 cup sour cream
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil six 3-inch flan rings that are at least 2 inches tall (see Note) and space evenly on the baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and cinnamon. Spoon the crumbs into the flan rings and press to form an even layer of crust. Bake for 8 minutes, or until set. Let cool completely.
In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the coffee and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Warm the coffee over moderate heat to melt the gelatin, about 2 minutes. Let cool to tepid.
In a large bowl, combine the crème fraîche, sour cream and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Fold in the coffee gelatin. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the whites are firm and glossy; fold them into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the mixture into the flan rings. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
To unmold, push the cheesecakes up through the flan rings and set them on plates. Sift cocoa over the cheesecakes and serve.
Cleaned 8-ounce cans with the tops and bottoms removed can be used in place of flan rings.
A concentrated dessert wine will stand up to the bitter coffee notes here. Look for one from South Africa that is made from Weisser Riesling.
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