Sunday, February 27, 2011

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

I may be more connected to my Italian roots, but my mother blessed me by marrying a full-blown Irishman! So not only do I love to eat, but I also like to enjoy a drink or two... or three! Being 50/50 Irish and Italian has always been quite fun for me growing up. Being able to celebrate and learn about each culture's traditions has been quite the experience.  Not only am I lucky to be half Irish, but am especially lucky to live near Boston, because when it comes time to celebrate my Irish heritage on St. Patrick's Day, it is always a good time at the Pubs downtown! While on the topic of celebrating, I just want to sidetrack for a moment and add a thank you to Sabrina from Eat, Drink, and be Merry for awarding me with the "One Lovely Blog" Award.  I love knowing that other people enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it! So thank you!

Irish Soda Bread
In order to properly celebrate the upcoming St. Patrick's Day, I will be posting several different traditional Irish recipes - the first of which will be Irish Soda Bread!


Now, the key word here is traditional. There are so many Irish recipes in the states that have a ton of different ingredients and variety of flavors.  For instance, many people tend to add raisins to Soda Bread, when in actuality; traditional Irish Soda Bread has no fruit in it whatsoever! When you add fruit, it is considered to be a teacake or fruit bread, but not soda bread. Although you can add fruit to jazz it up, the Irish are very simple and when it comes to their baking, simple is more!


There are two different types of Soda Bread: Cake and Farl.  The cake style of Soda Bread (like in the photo shown above) is the more common type of Soda Bread.  It is kneaded and shaped into a mound, cut into halfway cross wise, and baked in an oven. When making farl, the dough is cut completely through cross wise to create four separate pieces and is usually baked in a heavy frying pan.  Below you will find the basic recipe for Irish Soda Bread as well as a couple of different variations.  

Basic White Soda Bread

Ingredients:
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-14 ounces buttermilk
(If you want to try a recipe with fruit you can add a 1/2 cup of raisins, craisins, or currants.  If you do not want to add fruit, you can still jazz the recipe up a bit by adding a teaspoon of sugar). 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet with a little bit of flour so the dough will not stick when placed on the sheet.  

In a bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.  Working somewhat quickly, add the buttermilk and combine to form a sticky, rough, dough.  Dump the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough, but only for 30 seconds or less. You do not want to over-knead! The dough should still be fairly rough and lumpy.  

Place the dough onto your prepared baking sheet and form it into a round mound. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross halfway through the length of the dough.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the bread feels hollow.  You can check this by picking up the bread and tapping the bottom of the loaf.  

For a less crunchy crust, remove the bread from the oven once it is done and cover with a clean tea towel or dishcloth.  If you want a more hard crust, then just let the bread cool openly on a wire rack.  

Now, since I was awarded the "One Lovely Blog" Award, not only will I thank Sabrina more than once for awarding me this, but I will also pay it forward to 15 other bloggers who I admire!



Thanks again Sabrina and I hope you all enjoy this Irish Soda Bread!
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta (Italian for cooked cream) is an Italian dessert with a creamy, yet Jell-O like texture.  The first time I tried Panna Cotta I knew that there was gelatin in the recipe, so I was a little apprehensive about trying it since I am not a huge fan of gelatin type foods.  However, I was soon very glad that my grandmother made me eat the Panna Cotta, because like most other foods I have been afraid to try, I fell in love! 

Recently, my boyfriend and I were at a wine and dinner event at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, and for dessert, guess what they served? Panna Cotta! But not just any Panna Cotta - a caramel/chocolate Panna Cotta! Now, since I am an enormous fan of anything chocolate, I waited all but a few days to go straight home and make my own chocolate Panna Cotta recipe with a stylish twist! 
 
Chocolate Panna Cotta
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup whole milk
-1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (Knox gelatin)
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-3 teaspoons cocoa powder
-1/4 cup sugar 
-Pinch of salt
-Milk, dark, and/or white chocolate for garnishing 
*Makes enough for 3-4 martini glasses or 4 small ramekins

Directions:
Place milk and gelatin in a heavy saucepan and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Then, stir the milk and gelatin over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves (about 2-3 minutes). Do not boil the milk.  Add the cream, cocoa powder, sugar, and pinch of salt.  Stir over low to medium heat until the sugar dissolves (about another 2-3 minutes).  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.  You can then pour the mixture into ramekins, or, to jazz it up - martini glasses! 
                               
Place the martini glasses in the refrigerator and let chill.  Be sure to stir every 15 minutes or so during the first hour.  This will prevent a skin from forming.  After the first hour, make sure to cover and refrigerate for about 6 hours or up to overnight to allow the Panna Cotta to set. 

Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler on your blocks of chocolate, create little or big curls to sprinkle on top of the Panna Cotta.  For small shavings, make sure the chocolate is very cold.  For medium-larger curls (like in the photos), let the chocolate warm slightly before shaving.  

When ready, dig into the Panna Cotta with a spoon and enjoy!

For a different flavor, you can always replace the 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder with 3 teaspoons of instant coffee powder or whatever flavor you prefer! 

For more information regarding the wine and dinner pairing events at the Wentworth visit here: http://northeastwinefestivals.com/Events_Calendar.html 

Hope you enjoy! 
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Italian Style Flank Steak & Asparagus

Flank steak is a long and fairly flat cut of meat, but it is also a tough cut of meat.  However, out of all the different types of meat that I cook at home, Flank Steak is one of the easiest - so I love it! There are many different ways to prepare steaks and you can always season them to your liking.  Since I grew up in an Italian family, I like my steaks to take a nice long bath in an Italian marinade! For side dishes, I usually use asparagus (recipe below) and some type of starch, like a baked potato or risotto (recipe to follow soon).  This is a very easy meal to make during the week if you do not have a lot of time, but it will taste as if you spent hours preparing it!
Italian Flank Steak
Ingredients:
-1 Flank Steak
-Italian dressing
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Butter, unsalted
-Salt and pepper to taste


Topping:
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
-1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano


Directions:
Marinate the flank steak at least several hours or up to overnight, before cooking.  I use an Italian dressing to marinate the steak, but you can use whatever type of dressing or marinade you prefer.


When ready to cook, preheat your broiler.  Meanwhile, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.  Remove the Flank steak from it's marinade, season with salt and pepper, and add it to the pan in order to brown the outside of the steak (about 2 minutes on each side).  Make sure to save the marinade.  Depending on the size of your steak you may need to cut it in half so that is will fit in the pan (I just had to cook one piece at a time since the last steak I bought was huge).
Once the outside of the steak has been browned, keep the pan with the oil on, and place the steak(s) back into the marinade dish (make sure it is oven safe, if not, pour the reserved marinade and steaks into an oven safe dish).  Cut up a few pieces of butter and place them on the top of the steak.  Place the dish into the oven and broil for 5-6 minutes on each side.  You do not want to overcook the steak (try and keep it medium-rare to medium) otherwise it will be too tough and chewy.  
Once the steak is done, you can set it aside and prepare the glaze/topping for the steak.  Using the same pan that you used to brown the steak, add the garlic and sauté for about one minute, scraping and mixing in any steak bits that were left over from browning the steak.  Remove from heat and add the butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the red wine vinegar and oregano, and sauté for a few more minutes.  When ready to eat, pour a little of the glaze over the steak. 
Now, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare the asparagus. 

To prep, break off the ends of the asparagus and spread out on a pan.  Drizzle with oil and season well with salt and pepper.  Toss the asparagus to make sure it is all fully coated with the oil and seasoning.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until it is a bright green and tender to the touch of  fork.  
Once the asparagus is done, it is time to cut up the steak! Make sure to slice the steak against the grain (or thin slices at about a 45 degree angle, vertically). Place the slices of steak, asparagus, and whatever type of starch you prefer (such as a potato or risotto) and serve.  Hope you enjoy!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cocktails with an Award

I started food blogging back in August of 2010.  At first, I felt like I was having trouble keeping up with the blog and was unsure if I was a "good" blogger or not.  But as time went on I became more comfortable writing and sharing, and I have been able to "meet" many great food bloggers, like Lynn from Sprinkles of Flavor.  Lynn told me today that she was awarding me with the "Stylish Food Blogger Award," and although it may not seem like much to some, I was honestly quite proud and happy.  I still consider myself a newbie to all of this and am excited that my blog has been growing and that others actually like to read it! :)  It is definitely a great feeling and I encourage any other new bloggers to keep typing away and to continue to share, because it will get noticed!
In order to celebrate, I decided to relax and mix myself a nice little cocktail - the Whisky Sour.
Whisky Sour
Ingredients:
-3/4 cup Whisky
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-1/2 cup lime juice 
-2/3 cup simple syrup (you can buy pre-made or boil one cup of water and one cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved - let cool)
-Ice
-Cherries for garnish 
*Note: This is for 2 or more drinks.  Cut recipe in half if only making one. 

Directions:
Combine the whisky, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a glass.  Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and pour the whisky mixture into the shaker.  Shake well and pour into a Martini glass.  Garnish with a cherry. 

Relax and enjoy! 

Now, in keeping with the tradition of receiving a Stylish Blogger Award, I have to state 7 things about myself, and award other bloggers that I have discovered. So here it goes... 
1.) I am obsessed with the FRIENDS TV series and have watched every single episode at least 3 times if not more. 

2.) I live in Massachusetts and have never been to Cape Cod. 

3.) I am a competitive Latin Ballroom dancer and have trained with people such as Karina Smirnoff, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Jean Marc Genereux.

4.) My favorite actor is Adam Sandler and I hope to meet him someday (and maybe even my favorite band - Aerosmith). 

5.) I never use to cook - not even toast! 

6.) My best friend from high school is now the man I am in love with and live with! :)

7.) I have fallen in love with food blogging and hope to be able to put this blog to even further use... maybe report on food/wine tasting events etc... 

I hope you enjoyed my recipe and reading up on my little tidbits.  Here are some other great blogs that I love and have recently discovered: 

Mateja at Indulging Life
Eftychia at Dream of Cakes
Trish at Dish by Trish
Manuela at Manu's Menu
Leanne at Healthful Pursuit

Thanks again Lynn!
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats

For this post I wanted to share some different, cute, and easy ideas that anyone can do for Valentine's Day.  On top of the cream puffs, I made cupcakes, cake balls (well, cake hearts), and cookies.  I gave a bunch of these desserts to the girls that I work with, but I wanted to jazz them up a bit and give them a real Valentine twist! It was extremely easy to do and these treats are especially cute if you have a child in school that may be having a Valentine's Day party.

First, we'll start with the cupcake...
Can you see the written message in one of these photos?? 
What you will need:
-1 heart-shaped box of chocolates (or more depending on how many boxes you want to make.  One box will make two holders since you can use the cover as well)
-Valentine's Day candies such as M&M's, conversation hearts, kisses, etc.
-8 cupcakes per box (I made vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet.  Use any flavor you wish to bake)
-Frosting (I made vanilla, chocolate, and cream cheese to go along with my cupcakes, but again, use whatever you want)

To assemble:

First, dump out all of the candies that come in the heart boxes and set aside.  Frost your cupcakes and place them in the boxes.  If you squeeze them in just enough, you will be able to fit 8 (you can follow my set up from the photos above).  

Now, for the fun part.... Decorate the cupcakes any way you want! I usually use some of the reserved candies from the boxes, on top of kisses, conversation hearts, etc... Just have fun!

Once the cupcakes are all decorated, use the rest of the reserved candies (I also use unwrapped Hershey kisses) to fill in the little gaps between the cupcakes.  That way everything gets filled in and it still gives the appearance of being a box of chocolates.  

Now, it's time for the Red Velvet cakes hearts... 


What you will need:
-Red velvet cake, already made and ready to use
-Cream cheese frosting
-Milk, white, or dark chocolate (whichever you prefer)
-Chocolate for drizzling (I already had pink colored chocolate, but you can just add food coloring to white chocolate in order to get a pink or a red, etc...) 
-Heart-shaped cookie cutter
-Parchment paper

To assemble: 
Cut the red velvet cake up into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.  Mash up the cake until it is all broken up and crumbly.  Add the cream cheese frosting.  It usually takes one batch of frosting per cake.  Mix together until the cake begins to ball up and the frosting is mixed in well.  

Scoop out the batter with a cookie scoop a little at a time.  Lightly press down so you have enough room to push a heart-shaped cookie cutter through.  Peel away the access and place the heart shaped cake ball on the parchment paper on a pan.  If you do not have a heart shaped cookie cutter you can just roll the batter into little truffle-sized balls like this: 
Once you are done cutting out your hearts, melt the milk chocolate (or whichever kind of chocolate you are using) in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler (the microwave method will just save time).  Dip each heart into the melted chocolate until completely covered and return it to the parchment paper.  Repeat this step until all of your cake hearts are covered in chocolate.  Place the cake hearts in the fridge to let the chocolate harden and cool.  

Once the chocolate is hard, you can leave the cake hearts as they are, or melt a different colored chocolate to drizzle over the top.  Remember, you can use any type of cake and frosting pair for cake balls, such chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, vanilla with vanilla, orange cake with vanilla, carrot with cream cheese, and so on - the list is endless! 

And last but not least (but certainly the easiest), chocolate covered strawberries...
What you will need:
-Fresh strawberries
-Milk, dark, or white chocolate
-Parchment paper

To assemble:
Rinse off strawberries thoroughly and pat dry.  Make sure they are dry enough so that the chocolate will stick more easily.  Set aside. 

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Take each strawberry, one at a time, and dip into the chocolate.  Once the strawberry has been dipped into the chocolate, place it on a piece of parchment paper.  Repeat this process for the rest of the strawberries.  Once all the strawberries have been dipped, place in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden and cool.  Once the chocolate is hard, remove the strawberries from the fridge and melt a different kind of chocolate (such as white chocolate) to drizzle over the top.  To get more neat lines, you can pour the white chocolate into a bag, cut a tiny piece off of one of the corner, and squeeze the chocolate out that way.  Allow to cool again, and enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!  
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Orzo Pasta with Shrimp, Pancetta, and Feta Cheese

Orzo (Italian for barley) is a rice shaped pasta, and although it may look small, do not let it fool you - it is very filling.  Orzo can be used in many different dishes in many different ways - it is very versatile! For this dish, I basically used a bunch of ingredients that I needed to use up in my kitchen before they went to waste, and I used a sauce recipe that I found on the Food Network's site.  This is a very easy dish to prepare and flexible in terms of ingredients.
Orzo Pasta
Ingredients:
-1 box Orzo pasta
-2 pounds shrimp (I actually had used up some of mine already so just use whatever you have)
-Pancetta, cubed (use as much as you want! I used about 8 ounces worth)
-1 cup freshly chopped parsley 
-1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
-1 small shallot (about 1/2 cup), chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
-Feta cheese
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Olive oil

Glaze/Sauce:
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-1/2 cup olive oil
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon pepper

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare your cucumber, onion, parsley, and garlic.  Set aside. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a little salt and olive oil to the water.  Add the orzo pasta and simmer for about 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl.  Set aside. 

Place the pancetta in an oiled skillet and cook on medium-high heat until crispy.  This will take a little bit so it is okay to leave it going while prepping other ingredients.  When the pancetta is done, make sure to drain and place on a paper towel to help absorb a lot of the oil. 

Spread out your shrimp on a pan, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Lightly toss the shrimp to make sure all of it is coated with the oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 5-6 minutes.  Do not over cook or it the shrimp will be too rubbery. 
By now, the Orzo should be all done.  Drain the pasta and pour into a large bowl.  Pour the glaze over the pasta and mix it up so that all of the Orzo is covered with the glaze.  Then, place all the rest of the ingredients, veggies, garlic, shrimp, and pancetta into the bowl.  Mix well until all ingredients are combined.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Add the feta cheese last.  Add as much or as little as you wish.  The feta really adds a great flavor to this dish so I tend to use a lot of it! 

Using a pasta scoop, place the orzo on a dish and sprinkle with a little more feta cheese to finish it off.  Serve warm with a nice glass of white wine and enjoy! 

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine Profiteroles

Thank you for all of your votes! My profiteroles won the Valentine's Day contest on Food Frenzy!

In the past I have never really been one to embrace Valentine's Day, but this year, I have decided to not only embrace the day of love, but to bake several treats that can be used for a romantic Valentine's day dinner.  As most of you know by now, I have quite the sweet tooth, so I made these profiteroles as an early Valentine's Day gift.  Profiteroles are actually extremely easy to make, but if one thing gets thrown off in the making of the choux pastry dough, such as not being in the oven long enough, they can become flat and extremely disappointing.  I have tried numerous recipes - some were complete failures while others worked wonderfully.  With all of the trial and error, I have finally put together a recipe that I love and that comes together beautifully.  Once you master the pâté à choux pastry dough you will not only be able to make profiteroles quickly and easily, but other treats like éclairs and gougères.
Valentine Profiteroles
(For this particular recipe, I cut the tops in half to stick in the chocolate hearts, but you can leave the tops whole of course)
Ingredients:

-1 cup milk
-1 stick of butter, unsalted
-Pinch of salt
-Sprinkle of sugar
-1 cup flour
-4 large eggs
(Helpful hint: I only sprinkle a little sugar for added taste but you do not need to use any sugar at all if you prefer not to)

Cream Filling:
-1 pint of heavy cream
-1 cup of confectioner's sugar, plus more for sprinkling 
(Helpful hint: Heavy cream actually works better than whipping cream! Ironic, I know.  If you have whipping cream though do not be afraid to use it.  Also, do not shy away from using even more confectioner's sugar if you need to.  A lot of people do not realize this, but the sugar helps the cream to hold up longer and much, much better.  It also gives it a great taste).

Chocolate Hearts:
-12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
-Parchment paper
-Piping bag (or plastic bag with a corner cut out)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the hearts first so that they have time to harden.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe dish, stirring occasionaly to make sure all of the pieces are melted.  Let cool for a minute.  Meanwhile, if you have a heart shaped cookie cutter, trace a bunch of hearts onto a piece of parchment paper and then flip the parchment paper over so that the lead from the pencil does not touch the chocolate.  Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag, and pipe out the hearts.  Although I have a heart-shaped cookie cutter I actually find it easier to draw the hearts freehand, so don't worry if you do not have one.  Add little designs in the middle of the hearts if you want - just be creative and do what you think looks best.   Place the sheet of hearts in the fridge to harden and cool.
Next, heat the milk, butter, salt, and sugar in a pot until just scalded.  Once the butter has melted, add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together to form a dough (it will happen quickly).  Stir the dough over low-medium heat for a minute or two.  Dump the dough out into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time.  Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Your arm may get tired from mixing, but it will be well worth the effort! (Helpful hint: Sometimes the dough is extremely runny like soup with the four eggs added in, so after adding the first three eggs, you may not need to add any more.  Usually though, if everything works out right, it will take all four eggs.  Remember though, the dough should still be somewhat more loose to an extent).

Once the eggs are incorporated, scoop the dough into a pastry bag and pipe out mounds of dough about 1 inch high and 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide on a pan.  Wet the tip of your finger with water and lightly press down the tips of each puff to prevent them from burning in the oven.  Place the pan in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned on top.  Do not open the oven during the first 10 minutes of baking.  After the first 10 minutes (or more if you can hold out) you can check on them and rotate them if you wish, but just do not open the oven before those first 10 minutes are up.
When the puffs are done, turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for 5-10 minutes (or until they are light, airy, and hollow).  Remove from the oven and let cool.

While your puffs are cooling, prepare the whipped cream.  Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and blend, on high speed, until the cream begins to thicken.  Once the cream is thick and holds stiff peaks, fold in the confectioner's sugar.





If using the chocolate hearts, cut your puff pastry in half, and place a slit in the top half.  Fill the bottom part of the shell with cream and place the top back on. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and insert a chocolate heart in the middle.

If you do not want to use the chocolate hearts, you can leave the profiteroles as they are, or you could use a chocolate glaze.  Another option would be to use a nutella glaze.

Serve as an after dinner treat for you and your loved one on Valentine's Day!
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mascarpone Cheesecake with a Nutella Glaze for World Nutella Day!


Today marks the 5th annual World Nutella Day!  Thanks to two bloggers, Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, world nutella day was born, and has been growing ever since!  When I first learned of world nutella day, I was in heaven.  I remember the first time I had nutella - I was in 12 years old, sitting in my 7th grade French class, and my teacher brought some in for us to try.  Since that day, I have been addicted!  

For nutella day, since I make Crêpes with nutella pretty much every weekend, I decided to try something different - cheesecake!  I love cheesecake and I love nutella, so why not combine the two? I adapted this from the Food Network and made a few of my own changes. This cheesecake is a little more time consuming, but is flexible in that you can alter some of the ingredients to your liking and can substitute other cheeses (such as ricotta) if you do not like mascarpone.  
Mascarpone Cheesecake with a Nutella Glaze
Ingredients

Crust:
-1 cup slivered almonds
-2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
-3 tablespoons sugar 
-4 tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick), melted
(Helpful hint: If you do not like almonds, then just use more graham cracker crumbs (about 1/2 of the bag) and you do not have to add the sugar if you do not want to.  A more traditional crust would just involve combining graham cracker crumbs with melted butter). 

Filling:
-16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-16 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
-1 1/4 cup sugar
-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-4 large eggs, room temperature
(Helpful hint: Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature and depending on your sweet tooth, you can add more or slightly less sugar - I sometimes add even more). 

Topping:
-1/2 cup Nutella
-1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Prepare a 9 inch round by 2 3/4 inch high springform pan by wrapping the outside of the pan in at least 3 layers of tin foil.  Make sure it is wrapped well because you will be baking the cheesecake in a water bath, and this helps to prevent water from seeping into your cheesecake. 

In a food processor or blender, grind the cup of almonds.  Combine the ground almonds, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl, until moist crumbs form.  Pour the crumbs into the pan and pat down until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.  Bake the crust in the oven for about 10-12 minutes in order to allow the crust to set.  




While the crust is in the oven, prepare the filling. Blend the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar together in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla.  Beat in 1 egg at a time, making sure each egg is mixed in well before adding the next one.


Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F.  Take the crust out of the oven, and pour the filling over the crust.  Make sure it is spread out evenly.  Place the pan into a larger pan and fill with water until the water comes about halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.  
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until just the center of the cheesecake jiggles slightly when shaken.  Let cool on a rack for one hour.  Place in the fridge and chill for an hour or up to two days.  The longer it sits the better it will taste! The flavors need time to meld together.  

When ready to serve, prepare the topping.  Scoop the nutella into a bowl with the heavy (or whipping) cream.  Place in the microwave and until warm, stirring every 15-20 seconds to blend.  Drizzle the sauce over the top of each slice of cheesecake.  If you do not want the sauce, you can also just scoop out a dollop of nutella to place on top! Enjoy!









For more nutella recipes, check out Sara's Flourless Chocolate Nutella Cake and Michelle's Nutella Spice Cake - they look delicious! 

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