Holiday Feature

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

Makes one 10-inch (25-cm) cake
Serves 12-16


Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Decorated with miniature marzipan fruits, this cake makes a lovely dessert for Christmas Eve. Look for the fruits in candy shops and well-stocked food stores during the holidays.


1 cup (3 oz/ 90 g) chocolate cookie crumbs
1 cup (4 oz/ l25 g) sliced (flaked) almonds
1/4 cup (2 oz/ 60 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 tablespoons (2 oz/ 60 g)
   plus 1-1/2 cups (12 oz/ 375 g) sugar
10 oz (315 g) European bittersweet chocolate, chopped,
   plus additional melted
   bittersweet chocolate for garnish (optional)
2 lb (1 kg) cream cheese, at room temperature
l/2 cup (1-1/2 oz/ 45 g) unsweetened cocoa
4 eggs
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/ 125 ml) heavy (double) cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (essence)
1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract (essence)
2 cups (16 fl oz/ 500 ml) sour cream marzipan fruits, optional


Position a rack in the middle of an oven; preheat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, almonds, butter and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Press evenly over the bottom of a 10-inch (25-cm) springform pan. Bake until just golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Leave the oven set at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In the top pan of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl placed over (not touching) simmering water, place the 10 oz (315 g) chocolate. Heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Let cool. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese, the 1-1/2 cups (12 oz/ 375 g) sugar and the cocoa until blended, about 3 minutes. Beat in the cooled chocolate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the cream, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the almond extract.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Bake until puffy and gently set in the center, about 1 hour. Let cool on a rack until the cake deflates slightly, about 20 minutes. Leave the oven temperature set at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the sour cream and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Spread over the settled cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake until just set, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

If desired, dip fork tines into melted chocolate and wave the fork back and forth over the cheesecake to create a zigzag pattern. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

If you like, just before serving, arrange marzipan fruits around the top of the cake.



Kitchen Library: Holiday Baking

by Jeanne Thiel Kelley
Photographs by Allan Rosenberg
$17.95 (hardcover)
Time-Life Books
ISBN: 0-7835-0308-3
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006