Preparation24 hoursCook Time2 hours 30 minsTotal Time2 hrs 30 mins
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients on box
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon orange zest
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons dark rum
1 heaping teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, separated
9 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup Dixie Crystals confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups prepared whipped cream
1 cup crushed cannoli shells (about 3 large shell's worth)
3 miniature cannoli shells
Miniature chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a 10-inch springform pan; line the bottom with a circle of parchment, then grease the bottom and sides with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the espresso powder to the brownie mix and prepare according to box directions. (I made mine the fudgey way.)
Pour brownie batter in springform pan and bake according to box (mine took about 25 minutes); you want the brownie to be just barely done, since it will be going back in the oven for over an hour.
Remove from the oven, drop temperature to 325 degrees, and prick brownie all over with a fork (this helps the cheesecake "stick" to the crust.)
When brownie cools enough to touch, wrap the bottom half of the pan in 2-3 layers of foil and set inside a roasting pan. Set aside.
While brownie is baking, prepare cheesecake. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Add ricotta, salt, vanilla and orange zest. Mix well, about 2-3 more minutes.
Add eggs in one at a time on low speed, mixing until batter is just blended.
Drop the flour in the measuring cup of chocolate chips and shake to coat, then fold them in to the cheesecake batter.
Pour batter on top of brownie "crust", spreading with a rubber spatula to even it out.
Set roasting pan on the middle rack, and pour hot water into the pan, until it reaches an inch up the springform pan. Bake 50-70 minutes (ovens vary), until the edges have started to pull away, but the middle still ha s a slight jiggle.
Turn heat off and open the oven door a crack, allowing the cheesecake to sit another hour in the cooling oven.
After cheesecake comes to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours.
DO NOT START THIS MOUSSE UNTIL YOUR CHEESECAKE HAS BEEN REFRIGERATED. In a small bowl, sprinkle powdered gelatin over rum. Let set 5-6 minutes.
Set dark chocolate in a large bowl.
Heat ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream in a microwave, or a small saucepan over low heat. When it's almost boiling, whisk in the gelatin until dissolved, then pour it over the chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minute before whisking until smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool.
In a clean, cold stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1½ cups heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken.
Add almond extract and confectioner's sugar, and whip until mixture reaches stiff peaks. Don't overwhip!
Fold ⅓ of the whipped cream in to the cooling chocolate mixture gently until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until color is uniform.
Pour mousse mixture on top of cheesecake, smoothing with a spatula to evenly distribute. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Since the cheesecake pulls away from the pan, but the mousse does not, when you unhinge your pan ring, the layers will be uneven. Pipe prepared whipped cream around the brownie/cheesecake layers, then smooth with an offset spatula.
Press crushed cannoli shell pieces around edge of cake with your hand, going up as far as the vanilla whipped cream reaches.
Pipe 12 dollops of whipped cream evenly around the top edge of the cake, and a final larger dollop in the middle.
Place 3 whole miniature cannoli shells filled with more whipped cream artsy-fartsy-like on the center dollop. Garnish each outer dollop with a larger piece of crushed shell, mini chocolate chips, and almond slivers.
Refrigerate at least another hour before serving, just so everything firms up. Slice, serve, and enjoy this amazing torte!
Amount Per Serving
Calories1035kcalCalories from fat 616
% Daily Value
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs: