|White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake|
1 1/4 c. finely ground shortbread cookie crumbs
1/4 c. ground almonds (about 1 oz.)
2 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. almond extract
3 tbsp. (or more) unsalted butter, melted
6 oz. white chocolate (preferably imported), finely chopped
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 lb. Neufchatel cheese, room temp.
5 lg. eggs, room temp.
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
7 tbsp. whipping cream
8 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c. raspberry jam, melted and strained
Toasted sliced almonds
Fresh raspberries (opt.)
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, pureed & strained
FOR CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Blend in enough butter to bind crumbs. Press mixture firmly onto bottom of 10" springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
FOR FILLING: Melt chocolate in double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Cool to lukewarm. Using electric mixer, beat cheeses in large bowl until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sugar, flour, vanilla and almond extract. Stir 1 cup of mixture into lukewarm white chocolate; mix into remaining filling in bowl.
Pour filling over crust. Bake until cheesecake is firm around edges but still moves slightly in center when pan is shaken, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
FOR GLAZE: Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth.
Spoon glaze over top of cheesecake. Using spatula, spread glaze slightly over edge. Refrigerate until glaze is set.
Brush jam around sides of cheesecake. Press almonds onto sides, covering completely. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Arrange raspberries in center of cheesecake if desired. Serve with raspberry sauce.