I derived this cheesecake from one I saw on a food show one time. I’m always afraid when I make cheesecake that it’s going to be heavy and dry when it comes out. That’s never happened to me – and this recipe especially is so moist, and so melt-in-your-mouth that during a dinner party Gregg and hosted with four other couples, when dessert was served and everyone took a bite, there was a collective silence, then moan of appreciation. It was amazing and those friends still talk about that dinner party.
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- ⅔ cup vanilla wafers
- 3 TBS sugar
- 1 TBS butter unsalted
- 16 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 16 oz mascarpone cheese softened to room temperature
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 ea vanilla beans
- 4 ea eggs room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350° degrees F.
Lightly toast the almonds. Place them in a shallow frying pan and cook, stirring and shifting often, until they start to toast. (This will smell really good – and when you start to smell it, they’re just about done.)
If using a fresh lemon, squeeze the lemon.
Seed the vanilla beans. Discard the shells. (I place them in a container with sugar — this makes wonderful vanilla sugar that you can use for all sorts of things from flavoring your morning coffee to boosting up your white cake recipe.)
Wrap a 9-inch springform pan tightly with foil.
For the Crust
Grind the cookies in the food processor. Measure out ⅔ cup.
Grind the almonds in the food processor. Add the ⅔ cup cookie crumbs. Add the sugar. Add the butter.
Press the crust mixture into the bottom only of the pan.
Bake until the crust is set – 12-15 minutes.
For the Cheesecake
Reduce the oven to 325° degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cheeses until fluffy. Add the sugar. Add the lemon juice and vanilla bean. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well.
Pour into the springform pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan. Set the pan in the oven.
Pour hot water into the pan until it comes up halfway up the springform pan.
Bake until the middle is just jiggly – about 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove from roasting pan, and chill in refrigerator until cold – about 8 hours.