Heavenly Crown

James Beard

Author and Educator

This cheesecake dessert is made more heavenly with the addition of chocolate and the royal crown-like ladyfinger crust. It is delicious whether served alone, or spruced up with a rich chocolate sauce and fresh summer berries.


  • 18 ladyfingers, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place ladyfingers, cut side down on a baking sheet and toast oven for 5 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes. Brush cut sides with orange juice. Place approximately 22 pieces vertically around the edge of a 9-inch spring form pan. Arrange remaining pieces on bottom of pan. Set aside.

Melt the semisweet chocolate over hot, not boiling, water. Remove from water and cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend cream cheese, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and salt. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the cooled chocolate.

Beat the egg whites and vanilla together until stiff but not dry, then gradually beat in the remaining brown sugar until stiff and satiny.

Fold the heavy cream into the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the beaten egg white mixture. Pour into the lined pan. Chill at least 5 hours or overnight.


One 9-inch cheesecake