A version of this cheesecake in a back issue of Gourmet Magazine inspired us to make one of our own. Here we have a delicate but pronounced almond-flavored cheesecake with a crunchy chocolate nut crust. This creamy cheesecake is not too sweet and lends itself to dressing up with a garnish of grated chocolate or a drizzle of sauce. When making any cheesecake, resist the temptation to beat the cream cheese on high speed. On medium speed, the cream cheese softens and becomes lump-free without breaking down.
For the Crust
1 cup whole almonds with the skins on
1 box chocolate wafer cookies
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
1/2 cup Love’n Bake® Almond Paste
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon Amaretto liqueur or vanilla extract
Grated bittersweet chocolate or chocolate sauce, optional
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan
and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper.
For the crust: Spread out the almonds in one layer on a baking sheet and
toast them in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool the almonds then chop them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with
the metal blade. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl.
Crumble the chocolate wafers into the food processor. Add the sugar and
grind until you have fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to the ground almonds in the
bowl. Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
Press the crumb mixture into an even layer in the bottom and 2 inches up
the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes then set it on a wire rack
to cool while preparing the filling.
For the filling: Grate the Love’n Bake® Almond Paste into the bowl of a
mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed
to combine. The almond paste will still be in visible pieces. Add the cream
cheese and beat on medium speed for one minute to soften. Scrape the bowl then
beat on medium speed until the mixture lightens, about 4 minutes. Scrape the
bowl then add the Amaretto and the eggs one at a time.
Pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the cheesecake is evenly browned
and barely jiggles in the center, about 50 to 60 minutes.
Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the rack and allow the cheesecake to cool completely before refrigerating.
(This helps prevent the cheesecake from cracking in the center as it cools.)
Place a sheet of paper towel loosely over but not touching the cheesecake
then cover it with plastic wrap to keep any moisture that may condense on the
plastic from dripping on the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight before serving.
When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan. Using a knife dipped in
hot water, cut each slice, wiping off the blade between slices. Sprinkle each
piece with grated chocolate or chocolate sauce if desired.
Yield: 12 to 16 slices
Recipe and photo credit: Love’n Bake® - AmericanAlmond.com.