“My, my, my” said the spider to the fly, “jump right ahead in my web.”

For the crust

vegetable oil, cooking spray

18 ounces chocolate wafers (about 90), finely ground (4-1/2 cups)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon coarse salt

For the ganache

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61%), finely chopped

½ cup heavy cream

For the filling

32 ounces cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 cups heavy cream, cold

toy or candy spiders (optional, they can be purchased or made with black gum drop bodies and licorice string legs)

1.   Make the crust.  Coat a 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray.  Mix wafers, sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl.  Pat mixture into pan, pressing firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill.

2.   Make the ganache.  Place chocolate in a food processor.  Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over the chocolate.  When chocolate begins to melt, process until smooth.  Reserve 2 tablespoons ganache for decorating, and spread the remainder on bottom and all the way up the sides of the crust.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill.

3.   Make the filling.  Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add sugar and salt.  Raise speed to medium high and beat until very fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in lemon juice.

4.   Whisk cream until medium stiff peaks form.  Whisk ¼ of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour filling into pie crust and spread evenly.  Gently tap bottom of pan on counter to release air bubbles. 

5.  Transfer reserved ganache in to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8 inch round tip.  Starting in the center of the cheesecake, pipe a spiral, spacing lines about ½ inch apart.  Pull the tip of a paring knife in a gently curved line from the center of the spiral to the outer edge.  Wipe knife clean and repeat every inch or so to form a web.

6.   Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour or overnight.  Unmold cheesecake, garnish with toy or candy spiders if desired, and serve immediately.


adapted from

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