Saturday, April 28, 2007

White Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

On the day the realization hit that I had little to no baking skills, I decided to start a series of desserts based on the only two I knew how to make. Happily cheesecake was one of the two. This is my version of one using white chocolate.

For the crust:
3/4 cup crushed Graham Crackers
10 crushed Amaretti cookies
1/2 cup almond meal
1t bitter almond extract
1T sugar
2T soft unsalted butter
For the filling:
3 8oz pkg Philadelphia brand cream cheese
4 extra large eggs
1 cup sugar
1t vanilla extract
1t bitter almond extract
8 oz melted white chocolate

For the topping:

3 cups sour cream
2T sugar
1/2 t bitter almond extract
1t vanilla extract
4 oz grated white chocolate

Special Equipment:
10" Spring form pan

Directions for making the crust:

Place the softened butter into a medium sized mixing bowl and cream in the almond extract, then cream in the sugar and add the almond meal and start working in the butter.

Place the cookies into a plastic resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin, then do the same with your graham crackers (start with 10 squares), add both to the bowl and continue mixing.

When you can see that the butter has blended well with the rest of the ingredients, pour into the spring form pan and press evenly with a fork to compact your crust. Now you can place the pan in the refrigerator until the filling is completed.

Directions for making the filling:

Whip the cream cheese until light, add sugar and whip until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and whip at a medium high speed. Add the vanilla and whip again.
Melt the 8 oz of white chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water ( but not touching the water) then pour into the other ingredients while still whipping them with your mixer.

Pour the filling into the spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for an hour or 375 degrees for 45 minutes. The lower temperature helps to keep the filling from cracking.
Pierce the center with a toothpick and if it comes out wet, continue baking until it comes out dryer. This is a moist cheesecake so don't expect it to be dry. A little jiggle in the middle is to be expected. Take from oven and set aside to cool.

Mix together the topping ingredients and cover the top of the cheesecake. Since cheesecakes are notorious for compacting in the center, I start the topping around the rim
and work toward the center. Bake for 5 minutes at 375 degrees. As you can see in the photo below, it will pull from the sides of the pan after cooling.

Take from the oven and let chill in the refrigerator from 4 hours to overnight. Grate the remaining 4 oz of white chocolate over the top before plating.

For this cake I melted Guittard white chocolate chips for the filling and Ghirardelli slab white chocolate for the topping.

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