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Amaretto-Amaretti Chocolate Cheesecake

 

 

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Amaretto-Amaretti Chocolate Cheesecake

Maida Heatter's Book of
Great Chocolate Desserts

by Maida Heatter, 1995, Random House

Alibris 

“This is a chocolate cheesecake flavored with Amaretto and Amaretti
and almond paste, on a bottom crust of chocolate and Amaretti. It is an
extravaganza par excellence, with a radically unusual and irresistible
taste. (Amaretto is an Italian almond-flavored liqueur; the brand I use
is Amaretto di Saronno. Amaretti are crisp Italian macaroons; the brand
I use is Amaretti di Saronno, Lazzaroni & Company. Incidentally, this
liqueur and these macaroons are both made with apricot kernels, not
almonds. [!] It is important to use this special liqueur and these special
macaroons in order to have the special flavor of this special cake.”
Do you think she’s trying to tell us this is a special recipe???

16 or more portions

Crust

7 ounces (about 15 tissue-paper packages
with two 1 1/2-inch macaroons in each
package) Amaretti di Saronno,
Lazzaroni & Company
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened
chocolate
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) sweet
[unsalted] butter

Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to
350 degrees [F]. Butter the sides only (not the bottom) of a 9-inch
springform pan which may be 2 1/2 or 3 inches deep.
The Amaretti must be ground very fine. Place them in a food processor
fitted with the steel blade, or in a blender. (In a blender you may have
to do them half at a time.) Process or blend until you have made fine
crumbs. You should have 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Place the
crumbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.
Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a small double boiler
over hot water on moderate heat. Stir occasionally until melted.
Add the melted chocolate and butter to the Amaretti crumbs and sugar
and stir to mix thoroughly.
Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. With your fingers distribute it
evenly over the bottom of the pan and then, with your fingers, press it
firmly over the bottom. It must be a very firm, compact layer and
should be on the bottom only, not the sides.
Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Filling

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
(I use Baker’s 1-ounce squares)
7 ounces (about 15 tissue-paper packages
with two 1 1/2-inch macaroons in each
package) Amaretti di Saronno,
Lazzaroni & Company
4 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
24 ounces (three 8-ounces packages)
cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs (graded large or extra-large)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Cover until partially melted, then uncover and stir until completely melted. Remove the top of the double boiler and set it aside, uncovered, to cool slightly.
Place the Amaretti in their tissue-paper wrappings on a cutting board.
With the broad side of a heavy cleaver (or a hammer) hit each package
hard enough to break the macaroons coarsely but not hard enough to tear
the paper. Then unwrap the broken macaroons and place them in a bowl
and set aside.
Cut the almond paste into very small pieces and place it in the small
bowl of an electric mixer. While beating on low speed, very gradually
add the Amaretto liqueur and beat until thoroughly mixed. Remove
from the mixer and set aside.
In the large bowl of the electric mixer (you can use the same beaters
again without washing them), beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.
Add the sugar and beat until smooth again. Then add the almond paste-Amaretto mixture and beat once again until thoroughly mixed. Add the
melted chocolate and beat well once more. Set the mixer at low speed
and add the eggs one at a time and beat only until they are incorporated
after each addition. Add the heavy cream and beat only until smooth.
(This cheesecake should not be beaten until it is light and airy.) Remove
the bowl from the mixer.
Add the coarsely broken macaroons and stir together gently only to mix.
Turn into the prepared pan, pouring the mixture over the bottom crust.
Rotate the pan gently, first in one direction, then the other, to level the
batter. If you have used a pan that is 2 1/2 inches deep, the cheesecake
mixture will come almost to the top of the pan. It is O.K.; it will not run
over. Bake for 45 minutes. It will seem soft and not done but do not
bake any longer; it will become form when it is chilled. Remove from
the oven. The top of the cake will look bumpy because of the large
chunks of Amaretti; it is supposed to.
Set aside and let stand at room temperature until completely cool. Then carefully remove the sides of the pan.
Refrigerate the cake, which is still on the bottom of the pan, for 4 to 6
hours or overnight [overnight is better].
Now the cake can be left on the bottom of the pan (in which case it should be set on a folded napkin on a cake plate to keep it from sliding when you serve it). Or it can be removed from the bottom of the pan and transferred
to a cake plate or a serving board. To remove it from the pan, carefully
insert a sharp, heavy, firm knife between the cake and the pan, pressing
the blade firmly against the pan in order not to cut the crust. Gently rotate
the knife around the pan to release the cake. Use a flat-sided cookie sheet
as a spatula (or use two wide metal spatulas), slide it (or them) under the
crust, carefully lift the cake and transfer it to the cake plate. Or if you want
to freeze the cake (this freezes wonderfully) transfer it to a large piece of
plastic wrap and wrap airtight.
This may be served as is, or topped with a pile of Chocolate “Cigarettes”
or chocolate shavings.
Serve the cake refrigerated, the colder the better. Serve small portions.


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