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Cheesecake used to be a staple at birthdays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day – and this rich chocolate cheesecake was one of the most popular ones I made.

If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) it originally came from Gourmet or Bon Appétit, tweaked over the years… I hadn’t made it in practically decades, and I forgot how good it was. It’s not tricky to make, and can be done in advance – it needs time to chill in the fridge anyway. To make it extra special, top with strawberries or raspberries.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 9 oz (ish) bar Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
4 8 oz. (250 g) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
4 large eggs

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar

Fresh berries, to pile on top

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; add sugar and melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of the prepared pan and bake for 5 minutes, just until set. Cool while mixing the filling.

To make the filling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler; set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa powder; beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir in the lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool for a few minutes, then run a thin knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.

To make the topping: Stir cream, chocolate, and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated, or freeze for up to 6 months (or longer).

Serves 16 or more.

This recipe is available in the book The Rest of the Best and More.