For an elegant presentation, try this custardy cheesecake with the flavor of toasted hazelnuts.

Crust

  • Butter
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

Filling

  • 2 pounds cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled hazelnuts or blanched almonds

Directions

USE: 8 inch round cake pan

YIELDS: 8 servings

TO TOAST NUTS: Preheat oven to 400°. Place nuts on baking sheet and bake until browned, approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove and cool. Place the nuts in a food processor or blender. For a crunchy texture blend coarsely. For smoother texture blend a little longer until paste-like.

CRUST: Butter the inside of an 8?inch cake pan. Do not use a spring form pan. Sprinkle the inside with graham cracker crumbs and shake the crumbs around the bottom and sides until coated. Shake out remaining crumbs and set aside.

Lower oven to 300°.

FILLING: Place the cream cheese, cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend at low speed. Eventually, as the ingredients blend, increase speed to high. Blend until smooth, then fold in nuts.

TO ASSEMBLE: Pour filling into prepared pan and level the mixture by gently shaking. Insert the pan inside a slightly larger pan and pour boiling hot water into the larger pan to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Do not let the edge of the cheesecake pan touch the larger pan.

Place the pans in preheated oven and bake for 2 hours. Then turn off the oven and let cake sit in oven an hour longer. Lift the cake pan out of the water and place on a rack. Let the cake stand at least 2 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate.

Place a round cake plate over the cake and carefully turn upside down to unmold cake.

Serve chilled.