Tricia Grannell from Timonium was looking for a recipe for the mocha cheesecake she enjoyed some years ago at Maria's 300 restaurant in Little Italy.
The restaurant is no longer open and unfortunately I did not have any luck locating the exact recipe. However, I did receive an excellent recipe from Monica Sugarman of Ellicott City. She said that she makes this cheesecake in her food processor, which gives it a smooth and silky texture, and is fast and easy.
Sugarman strongly suggests that "you don't cheap on the chocolate" in this recipe. She says that the flavor of the chocolate is the star of this cheesecake, and a substandard chocolate will create a substandard cheesecake. The tangy cream cheese and rich mocha flavor combination in this decadent cheesecake is truly special. I would suggest that Grannell give this one a try. I'll bet it is as good as — if not better than — the one she remembers from Maria's.
Sylvia Fox from Randallstown would like to have the recipe for the tomato Florentine soup from Eddies' on North Charles Street in Baltimore.
Ruth LaMonte from Baltimore is looking for a recipe that appeared in the Sun Magazine over 30 years ago for a pork curry dish. It was made with pork cubes, tomatoes, yellow raisins, and pineapple.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
2 cups chocolate wafer cookies, roughly crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
4 eight-ounce blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
11/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 percent or higher), melted and cooled
2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso
8 ounces sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan
Prepare the crust by mixing the cookies with the butter and sugar. Press into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
Leave the oven at 350 degrees and add a shallow pan filled with hot water on the lowest rack.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a food processor add the cream cheese, cornstarch and sugar. Process until very smooth — about three minutes.
With the processor running, add the eggs, one at a time. Stop, scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate. Process to mix. Next add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Pulse to blend.
Now add the espresso powder and sour cream. Blend thoroughly, then add the cream. Pulse five times to blend. Do not overblend.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Tap on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place on the rack directly above the pan of water and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 40 additional minutes.
When time is up, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool two hours in the oven. Remove from the oven, run a thin knife around the edge and allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before releasing the pan.
Chill for four hours, or overnight, before serving.