Classic Almond Cheesecake

Cheesecake #4

Cheesecake #4 from the 2013 Cheesecake Bake-off

This recipe comes from Harriet Weil.  James first met Harriet at The Shakespeare Theatre in DC where she was the Associate Production Manager.  Harriet would always bring delicious homemade brownies to the tech rehearsals.  James says she still sends some up to shows he’s working on.  (What a friend!)  During VIRGINIA WOOLF, for the closing weekend, she sent Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies and Brownies stuffed with peanut butter cups and sprinkled with sea salt.  (Divine!!  Recipe to follow . . .)

Harriet is now the General Manager at the Round House Theatre in Maryland.  She, Elizabeth Clewley and Chase Helton all came up from DC to compete this year.

This cake won Harriet the CLASSIC ribbon.

Classic Almond Cheesecake 

Harriet’s notes:  “This cheesecake was inspired by trying Jules Destrooper Almond Thins.  I thought they would be a great crust for a cheesecake, but any almond cookie would be fine.”

Ingredients (Crust)

3 boxes Jules Destrooper Almond Thins/Almond Butter Cookies (3.5 oz each)
3 T melted butter

Ingredients (Cake)

4 x 8 oz blocks cream cheese
1 ⅔ cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 T almond extract
3 large eggs
¾ cup heavy whipping cream

Method (Crust)

1.  Crush cookies until they are finely ground.

2.  Add melted butter.

3.  Press into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Push the crumbs up the sides as much as possible.  Freeze until ready to use.

Method (Cake)

1.  Beat 1 brick cream cheese with ⅓ cup sugar and cornstarch on low until creamy – about 3 minutes.

2.  Add rest of cream cheese one brick at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add remaining sugar and beat on high until well combined – about 2 minutes.  On medium speed add almond extract. Then add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add whipping cream and mix unitil just combined. Do not overmix.

3.  Pour cream cheese mixture into cold crust. Put in a large baking pan and add hot water to about 1″ up on the springform pan. Bake until center barely jiggles – about 70-75 minutes. Check after 60 minutes and every 5 minutes until done.

4.  Cool one hour on a wire rack.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

5.  If desired, drizzle chocolate sauce over the top, add chocolate almond crunch, and a square of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude.  (Oh yes, it is desired!  Mmmmm!)

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