Cheesecakes make good party desserts. They're luxurious in feeling, appealing to everyone, and easy to serve. When I want a pull-out-all-the-stops party cheesecake, this one, flavored with white chocolate and swirled with raspberry sauce, is my pick.
Serves 12 to 16
White Chocolate Cheesecake
1. Wrap the outside of the springform pan with crust with a large piece of heavy aluminum foil and place it in a large baking pan with sides at least 2 inches high.
Prepare the Raspberry Sauce
2. purée the raspberries in a food processor. Use the back of a spoon to press the raspberries through a strainer to remove the seeds. Measure 1/2 cup strained purée into a small bowl and mix with the 1 tablespoon sugar and the lemon juice. Set the sauce aside and save any additional purée for another use.
Prepare the Cheesecake
3. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F. Place the white chocolate in a nonreactive ovenproof container and melt it in the oven, 8 to 10 minutes. As soon as the white chocolate is melted, remove it from the oven and stir it smooth. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the white chocolate aside to cool slightly.
4. Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the 1-1/4 cups sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour. Add the eggs, two at a time, mixing smooth after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl twice during this mixing. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Mix in the whipping cream. Stir in the melted white chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
5. Use a small spoon to drizzle the raspberry sauce over the batter, leaving a 1-inch plain edge. Dip the spoon gently into the batter and swirl some of the sauce into the batter, leaving some swirls of sauce on top of the batter in a marbleized pattern. Do not disturb the crumb crust.
6. Put the cheesecake in the oven and pour hot water into the large baking pan to reach 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour, or until when you give the cheesecake a gentle shake, the top looks firm.
7. Cool the cheesecake, covered loosely with paper towels, in the water bath for 1 hour on a wire rack. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the paper towels and cool 1 hour more. The cheesecake should feel cool to the touch. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Lightly sweetened raspberry sauce adds more raspberry flavor to the cheesecake than unsweetened raspberry purée.
If using frozen raspberries, defrost them before puréeing them.
Swirl the raspberry sauce gently into the cheesecake batter, being careful not to disturb the crumb crust.
Doubling the Recipe
Double the ingredients and use two pans. Mix the batter in a 5-quart bowl.
Use a small sharp knife to loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the springform pan. Release the sides of the pan. Either leave the cheesecake on the springform bottom or use the knife to loosen the crust from the bottom of the pan. Slide the removable bottom of a tart pan under the crust and move the cheesecake to a serving plate or cardboard cake circle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then heavy aluminum foil. Label with date and contents. Freeze up to 1 month.
Defrost the wrapped cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight. Uncover the cheesecake and let it sit at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Scatter fresh raspberries on the individual serving plates, if desired. Leftover cheesecake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Bake and Freeze Chocolate Desserts
by Elinor Klivans
Broadway Books, $27.50
306 pages; 1997
Reprinted by permission.
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