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Monday, December 6, 2010

Pistachio Cheesecake

Every year my husband has the same dilemma when his birthday approaches: does he choose the cake he grew up eating on his birthday--a great cold pistachio pudding cake--or does he eat my cheesecake? Invariably he goes between the two three or four times before I finally tell him, "Look, I'm making your cake tomorrow. Tell me what you want so I can get the stuff and make the blasted thing!" This year was no different. Pistachio was answer number one this year, but was ousted by cheesecake the next morning. 

But then it hit me: there has got to be a pistachio cheesecake recipe out in the universe somewhere. Surprise, surprise: there was. But none of the recipes wowed me. Not that I made them mind you--hello! This is cheesecake! I can't afford to make demos! So I used my basic cheesecake recipe adjusted for size (this is a smaller cake), and changed a few things around until--VOILA!--the creamy, nutty, pistachio-flavored, green cheesecake my husband hadn't dreamt of in his wildest mind-wanderings! (Okay, I don't know that it's that good, but he really liked it.)

And now I share it with you:
Ingredients:
6 oz. shelled pistachios
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. butter, melted
------------------------
16 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
2/3 c. (scant) sugar
1 t. almond extract
2-3 large eggs, room temp.
2/3 c. sour cream
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. pistachio pudding
1/2 pint whipped cream

Directions:
Crust
1. In blender or food processor, process pistachios until finely ground. Pour out 1/2 cup and save it. Add walnuts to the blender and process again until walnuts and pistachios are finely ground and mixed. Pour into a small bowl. Add melted butter to the mixture and mix until all is moist and crumbly.
2. Pour crumble into the bottom of a 6-inch, greased, spring-form cake pan. Pat down with your fingers to cover the bottom (and lower sides, if desired) of the pan. Set aside.
Filling:
1. With an electric beater, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and almond extract. Beat until blended. Add eggs one at a time until just blended. If batter seems too thick and pudding-like, add another. Add sour cream and pistachio pudding mix and beat well.
2. Bake at 325* F. for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set. When done, turn off oven and crack door slightly. Let cool entirely in the oven. (This is usually where I go to bed.) Run a knife around the inside of the pan before loosening the spring. This helps to prevent cracks.
3. Top with whipped cream and remaining pistachios and chill until you serve.

NOTE: A waterbath helps to prevent cracks in your cheesecake. I usually don't do it 'cause the cheesecake is topped with something anyway, but here's how in case you're interested: After filling the cake pan, set it inside another pan wider than itself but just about as deep. Carefully pour water into the outside pan until it reaches between 1/3 and 1/2-way up the inside pan. Bake as usual.

3 comments:

Sheila Spencer said...

SO GOOOOD!!!!!

Kathi Cirringione said...

I made this today in a 9" round pie plate. I added a few coconut shortbread cookies (ground) to the crust, 1 tsp. coconut extract to the cheesecake and made a sour cream topping (1 cup sour cream, 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. coconut extract) that I put on and baked during the last 5 minutes. DELISH!

Michael said...

That's a great idea, Kathy! Honestly, I didn't know anyone else read this blog.