Sunday, February 27, 2011

Almond Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

My mom celebrated her birthday on the 22nd of February and she requested an amaretto cheesecake. She loves almond flavored things and I knew if I got this right it could really make her day special. I wanted something more than a regular cheesecake with almond extract added to it for the almond flavor. I looked at a lot of different recipes and finally settled on one with a couple changes I wanted to make. I really think the almond paste makes this cheesecake different, so I wouldn't skip it. I found mine at our local grocery store in the baking isle. I really think the crust in this is fantastic and the almonds give it a little extra crunch. You could also change the topping to any berry that you like. I had considered cherry, blueberry, or strawberry, but raspberry just seemed like the perfect match to the almond cheesecake. I also apologize for not having a picture of this since we celebrated my daughter's birthday the same day and I didn't feel like I had enough time to stop and take a picture and it really did not last long. 

Almond Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full crackers)
1 cup sliced almonds
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 7-ounce package almond paste
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese (not reduced fat), room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs

12 ounces frozen raspberries (or fresh)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon corn starch

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom (I took the side part off and put it back on over the parchment). Set aside. Put sliced almonds on a cookie sheet and broil for 2 minutes (keep a close eye on this as they are very easy to burn) or until golden brown and toasted. Set aside to cool. In a food processor pulse graham crackers and toasted, sliced almonds until crumbs. In a medium bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and salt and mix well with a fork. Press mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 7 minutes, or until set.

For filling:
Break apart and pulse almond paste in a food processor to ensure there are no big chunks. Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, beat the almond paste, cream cheese, and sugar for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Occasionally, scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in eggs until just blended. Pour filling over crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees for about 45 minutes longer, or until the center is set and the top looks dry. Remove from oven and let cool.

For sauce:
Puree raspberries and water in a blender. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the majority of seeds (if the seeds don't bother you, skip this step). In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and corn starch. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Continue boiling for 3-4 minutes or until it's starting to thicken. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Spread sauce over cooled cheesecake and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Adapted from Epicurious and Smitten Kitchen


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