09 October 2005


Could this cake be made even more decadent? How about substituting dark chocolate for the white?

Well, that's an experiment for another lifetime, another budget.

You will need a 10" springform pan. Spray the bottom with non-stick cooking spray. (I use a non-stick pan but still spray, and it removes easily.)

Grind about 12+ shortbread cookies (you want a cup and a half) and an ounce of almonds. Add a T of sugar, mix with a t of almond extract, and stir in 3 T melted butter. It should be nice and moist.

Press the mix in the bottom of your springform pan, and bake at 350 for ten minutes. Lower your oven temp to 325.

In a double boiler, melt 6 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped fine. Let cool.

Beat the 4 packages 2/3 Philly cream cheese until they are creamy and smooth. Add 5 eggs, one at a time. Add 1 t vanilla, and 1/4 t almond extract. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar.

Add about a cup of the well-mixed filling to the melted chocolate, and stir. Add the chocolate mix to the filling, and stir to incorporate. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for about 40 minutes. The edges should be slightly browned and pulled away, but the center should shake slightly.

Cool. Cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. (I only refrigerated for a few hours.)

The cheesecake will crack like mad unless you use a water bath. I didn't want the trouble. I left the cheesecake in the oven to cool, with the door ajar, and when I came home from my meeting, the cake had cracked and sunk in the center, too. Oh, well. Anything can be fixed!

To make the glaze to pour over the top, simmer 7 T heavy cream in a small, heavy saucepan ,then add 8 oz. finely chopped chocolate, and stir well. I fill my cheesecake cracks with this slowly when it's a little cool, then set it in the fridge awhile. Then I take it out and pour all the glass on top. If your cheesecake's flat, like it's supposed to be, some of the glaze will drip down the sides. That's a good thing.

Melt a small jar of raspberry jam (don't waste money on the expensive stuff; buy all-fruit, as the others are twice as much and full of high-fructose corn syrup and junk) in a small pot, then strain it into a bowl.

Toast some sliced almonds in a pan on the stove. Spread the jam around the edge of the cheesecake, and press in the almonds.

You can drizzle some jam on the top, too, and sprinkle with almonds. The actual recipe calls for this to be served with raspberry puree made from fresh or frozen raspberries, and you can throw some pretty fresh berries in the center.

You can't miss with the greatest cheesecake that ever lived.

Still, I wonder what a dark chocolate version would taste like. Don't you?