Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake

Guysguysguysguys, guess what? It's a reallyreallyreally special day! Because it's our birthday! Pass the Cocoa turns two years old today.

Who'd have thought we'd still be doing this food blogging craziness after two years? To be honest, I thought this would be a passing interest, and that Monica and I would get tired of blogging pretty quickly, yet somehow I'm sitting here at 1 a.m., writing our 97th post instead of doing my history reading.

The story goes something like this:

Once upon a time, there were two high school seniors in Indiana who were on their school paper. They decided to start a blog about food on their high school paper's website, because their adviser was making a big push to get more traffic on the web, and they liked food, and, okay, they were managing editors on staff and were supposed to be, like, doing stuff for the paper.

Well, eventually they were about to graduate from high school, and couldn't take their blog with them, so they had to get a new URL. After much soul-searching, they chose to name their new website Pass the Cocoa, a name with great philosophical and personal meaning and reflected their most sacred beliefs about food and baking. (Okay, fine, we were just looking for an available URL).

For the first year, their only readership consisted of their mothers and one high school friend (thanks Andy!) who may or may not have been bribed with Oreo truffles. They were busy adjusting to college, juggling classes and being traumatized by dining hall food.

But eventually they found their feet, and started to put more thought and effort into their photography and posts, tried to be more of a presence in social media and the food blogging community.

And so here we are. I've talked about my experiences in food blogging in another post, so I'll just say that Monica and I have learned a lot more from this experience than I thought we would. It seemed so easy: we just needed to bake some stuff and take some photos, slap some words on it, stick it on the Internet, and call it a day. We found out pretty quickly that there was a lot more going on behind just what you see here.

I've seen the site statistics for some other blogs, and I know that Pass the Cocoa hasn't grown nearly as fast as a lot of other blogs. It's tempting to always be comparing ourselves to other blogs, but at the end of the day, we actually do blog because we love making and eating and writing about food.

Which brings me to this cheesecake. This raspberry meringue cheesecake is kind of labor intensive but is more than kind of amazing: a vanilla cheesecake with an Oreo crust, topped with raspberry pastry cream, and frosted with fluffy, lightly toasted meringue. A combination of fruity, tart, chocolate-y, and marshmallow-y.

It's a pretty good way of celebrating turning two, if I do say so myself.


Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake

For the Cheesecake:
20 Oreo cookies
¼ cup butter, melted
16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
3 egg yolks
⅓ cup raspberry jam
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
For the Meringue Topping
3 egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar


For the Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Finely crush Oreos and melted butter in the food processor. Press into a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese, with the mixer on medium speed. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in sour cream on low speed.

Pour the batter in springform pan over the Oreo crust. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the center is almost set.

Let the cheesecake cool completely, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

For the Raspberry Pastry Cream
Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer on the stove.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they turn a pale yellow. Whisk in the flour and salt.

While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in about ⅔ of the hot milk into the bowl with the egg yolks. Pour the egg yolks/milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over medium-low heat stirring constantly.

The pastry cream is done when it becomes a thick paste and large bubbles begin to pop through the surface. Take the saucepan off the stove and whisk in the raspberry jam.

Allow the pastry cream to cool, then cover it with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly over the surface of the cream so that it does not form a hard crust. Refrigerate several hours, preferably overnight.

Spread the pastry cream evenly over the top of the cheesecake.

For the Meringue Topping
Just before serving the cake, make the meringue topping. Turn on the broiler in your oven. In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water), mix together the egg whites and sugar. Gently heat, stirring constantly, until it is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the bowl off the heat and whisk the egg white/sugar mixture until it is fluffy and white, and stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the cheesecake, on top of the raspberry pastry cream.

Place the cheesecake in the oven for 15-30 seconds, until the top of the meringue is golden brown. Keep a close eye on the cheesecake during this process, since it can burn easily.