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Raspberry Cheesecake

1 9-inch spring form pan
1 and 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tsp lemon zest 1 tsp. vanilla

Topping

1 egg white 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup raspberry preserves

Combine graham cracker crumbs, and sugar and stir, add melted butter and stir well. Press along the bottom and sides of spring form pan. Combine cream cheese and sugar and beat with a hand mixer; add flour and eggs until blended. Add sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until blended. Pour into graham cracker crust and spread out evenly. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat egg white until foamy; add sugar and sour cream until soft peaks form. Spread on top of cake and return to the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven and allow it to completely cool. Spread raspberry preserves over the top and serve


CLASSIC SPAGO CHEESECAKE

Crust:

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling

• 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1 tablespoon dark rum
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 3 eggs
• Fresh berries, for garnish

1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat with nonstick spray, the bottom of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, assemble all the ingredients for the Butter Crunch Crust. Mix them together with your hands until the mixture resembles very small pebbles.

3. Press the Butter Crunch Crust into the bottom of the springform pan, covering the base completely and evenly. Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil, or two layers of regular foil around the pan's bottom and halfway up it's outside, pleating the foil to tighten it securely. Bake the crust until it is lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. To make the filling: Put the cream cheese, sugar and salt in the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters or in a large mixing bowl. Using the stand mixer or a handled mixer on medium speed, beat the ingredients until smooth, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the bowl and under the blades with a rubber spatula. Turn the speed high and continue to beat until mixture is creamy. Stop the mixer and add the sour cream, rum, lemon juice and vanilla; then, on medium speed, continue beating until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until combined. Scrape the filling into the prepared springform pan.

5. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the springform pan inside a slightly larger baking pan. Use and oven glove, pull out the oven shelf and place the baking pan on it. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but not above the foil. Carefully slide the shelf into the oven and bake the cheesecake until its top is slightly golden and slightly firm in the center, about one hour and 10 minutes.

6. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. Lift out the springform pan and place it on a wire rack to cool, carefully folding down the foil on its sides to promote quicker cooling. When the pan is cool enough to touch, completely remove the foil and continue cooling. When the cheesecake is completely cool, cover the pan loosely with a clean sheet of foil and refrigerate overnight.

7. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Dip a long, sharp knife in warm water and run the knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the cake. Remove the outer ring. Continue to dip the knife into warm water as necessary as you cut neat wedges. To serve, place a wedge of cake on a cake plate and garnish with fresh berries of your choice. Or, for a special end to a meal, cover the entire cheesecake with assorted fresh berries and present it that way at the table before slicing and serving. Recipes from Wolfgang Puck's Live, Love, Eat © 2002





TRADITIONAL CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight or for several hours

Cookie Crust

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour

5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs

1. Leave the butter and cream cheese out of the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to soften. Make the crust by creaming together butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and salt. Add 1 egg and mix well. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and stir well to combine.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, then press half of the dough onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until edge of dough begins to turn light brown. Cool.

3. When the pan has cooled, take the remaining dough and press it around the inside edge of the pan. Don't go all the way up to the top though. Leave about a 1/2-inch margin from the top of the pan.

4. Crank oven up to 500 degrees. Combine cream cheese, 1 1/3 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and lemon juice with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in sour cream and 2 tablespoons flour. Add the eggs and mix on slow speed until combined.

5. Pour cream cheese filing into the pan and bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 to 35 minutes more, or until the center is firm. Cover and cool in refrigerator for several hours or overnight before serving.

Serves 8.


APPLE-OF-YOUR-EYE CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight

Serves: 12

CRUST: 1 c. graham cracker crumbs 3 T. sugar 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 c. melted butter 2 T. finely chopped pecans Combine all ingredients; press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake art 350-F for 10 minutes; cool.

FILLING:

3 pkg. (8 oz., each) cream cheese, softened 3/4 c. sugar 3 eggs 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust.

TOPPING:

2-1/2 c. chopped peeled apples 1 T. lemon juice 1/4 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 6 T. caramel ice cream topping, 'divided' Sweetened whipped cream 2 T. chopped pecans

Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon; spoon over filling. Bake at 350-F for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Drizzle with 4 T. caramel topping. Cool for 1 hour. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan.

Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream. Drizzle with remaining caramel; sprinkle with pecans. Store in the refrigerator.


PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight

Serves: 12-14

CRUST:

1-1/2 c. crushed pretzels 1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted

In a small bowl, combine pretzels and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a greased 10-in. spring form pan. Bake at 350-F for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

FILLING:

5 pkgs. (8 oz., each) cream cheese, softened 1-1/2 c. sugar 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter 2 tsp. vanilla extract 3 eggs 1 c. peanut butter chips 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. stir in chips. Pour over crust. Bake at 350-F for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. (Leave Oven On.)

TOPPING:

1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream 3 T. creamy peanut butter 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. finely chopped unsalted peanuts

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, peanut butter and sugar; spread over filling. Sprinkle with nuts. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.. Remove sides of pan.


CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...need to chill overnight

Serves: 12-14

CRUST:

1-3/4 c. crushed chocolate chip cookies or chocolate wafer crumbs 1/4 c. sugar 1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press into bottom and 1-in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside.

FILLING:

3 pkg. (8 oz., each) cream cheese, softened 1 c. sugar 3 eggs 1 c. sour cream 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low just until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat just until blended. Pour over crust; set aside.

COOKIE DOUGH:

1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened 1/4 c. sugar 1/4 c. packed brown sugar 1 T. water 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips, 'divided'

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add water and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 c. chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls over filling; gently pushing dough below surface (Dough should be completely covered by filling).

Bake at 350-F for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight; remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips.


APPLE DANISH CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight

Serves: 8-10

CRUST:

1 c. flour 1/2 c. ground almonds 1/4 c. sugar 1/4 c. 'cold' butter or margarine

In a small bowl, combine flour, almonds and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Add extract. Shape dough into a ball; place between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll our into a 10-in. circle. Transfer to a greased 9-in. springform pan; gently press dough against the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FILLING:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened 1/4 c. sugar 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 1 egg.

In a mixing bowl; beat cream cheese, sugar and cream of tartar until smooth. Add egg; beat on low just until combined. Pour over crust.

TOPPING:

1/3 c. packed brown sugar 1 T. flour 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 4 c. thinly sliced peeled tart apples 1/3 c. slivered almonds.

In a bowl, combine first 3 ingredients. Add apples and stir until coated. Spoon over filling. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 350-F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges to loosen. Cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.


CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight

Serves: 12

CRUST:

1-1/2 c. chocolate wafer crumbs 2 T. sugar 1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2-in up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350-F for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce Oven Heat to 325-F.

FILLING:

1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips 1/4 c. whipping cream 3 pkg. (8 oz., each) cream cheese, softened 1 c. sugar 1/3 c. baking cocoa 3 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Remove from heat; add cream and mix well. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Stir in vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set.

TOPPING:

1-1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips 1/4 c. whipping cream 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cream and vanilla; mix well. Spread over filling. Refrigerate overnight. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan.

Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream and miniature chocolate kisses if desired.


S'MORE CHEESECAKE
Plan ahead...needs to chill overnight

Serves: 12

CRUST:

2-1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares) 1/3 c. sugar 1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted

In a small bowl. combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-3/4-in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan; set aside.

FILLING:

2 pkg. (8 oz., each) cream cheese, softened 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk 2 tsp. vanilla extract 3 eggs 1 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips 1 c. miniature marshmallows

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Pour over crust.

Bake at 325-F for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set.

TOPPING:

1 c. miniature marshmallows 1/2 c. semisweet marshmallows 1 T. shortening

Sprinkle with marshmallows. Bake 4-6 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed. Meanwhile melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over marshmallows. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.

TURTLE CHEESECAKE

Crust:

1 1/2 to 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (a 9-ounce package Famous Wafers)
6 Tbs. melted butter or margarine

Filling:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate (1 cup semisweet morsels)
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
5 eggs

Topping:

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Press crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan, covering the bottom in an even layer. Press firmly to pack them down.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. When it is cool enough to handle, wrap the bottom with heavy-duty aluminum foil (bringing it up the sides) and set the springform pan in a larger baking pan at least 2 inches deep.

Place the chocolate (cut it up if it comes in blocks) in a small bowl set over a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Heat until the chocolate melts, stirring occasionally until smooth. (If using a microwave, use high power for about 90 seconds, stirring about every 30 seconds.) Set aside.

Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat on low speed until cheese is fluffy and no lumps remain. Add sugar and beat just to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat briefly just until incorporated. Add melted chocolate and beat to blend thoroughly. Pour into prepared crust.

Fill the second baking pan with boiling water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake still has a center circle (about 3 inches) that quivers when you jostle the pan. Turn the heat off and let the cheesecake stay in the oven an hour or so.
Remove from oven, remove foil, cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

To make the topping: Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup becomes deep amber. Swirl the pan occasionally so the mixture browns evenly.
Remove from heat and add cream (it will spatter and boil up). Stir constantly. Don't worry if lumps form; they should dissolve -- if necessary, return the mixture to low heat for a while as you stir. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. The mixture should be very thick -- very thick but spoonable when at room temperature.

Toast pecan pieces in toaster oven, oven, microwave or in a dry skillet over medium heat until the pecans smell aromatic and have turned light brown (about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven).
Mix pecans with topping mixture and pour over cooled cheesecake, or drizzle mixture over cake and sprinkle with pecans. (If necessary, briefly heat the mixture in microwave or in a hot water bath until it thins enough to drizzle well.)

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