May 7, 2008

Mascarpone Cheesecake

An elegant cheese cake made with biscotti cookies, pistachios, and mascarpone cheese.


For the crust:
About 12 small or 6 large biscotti (preferably a variety with pistachios) to make approximately 1 1/2 cups finely ground crumbs
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
2-8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2-8 ounce containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the crumbled biscotti and the pistachios in the workbowl of a food processor and process until finely ground crumbs form. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter or cooking spray. Mix all of the crust ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press evenly to form a tightly packed crust--just cover the bottom of the pan, not the sides. Bake the crust in the preheated oven until set and golden, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before filling. For the cheesecake filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the bottom of the prepared crust pan tightly with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping into the pan while baking in a water bath. Set aside. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Using the paddle attachment of a mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and honey on low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl well to ensure even mixing. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix until just combined; do not overmix of the mascarpone may separate. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add orange zest, juice, vanilla and salt and mix just to combine. Pour the filling over the crust in the prepared pan. Place the springform pan into a larger pan or deep baking dish. To form a water bathc, add hot water to the large pan--until halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake until it is puffed around the edges and the center moves only slightly when the pan is tapped, about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven with door slightly open for another 30 minutes to cool gradually. Remove the cake from the oven and water bath, and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or preferably overnight to ensure easier cutting.

Notes: Optional: top the cheesecake with extra pistachios and a drizzle of honey.
Number of servings: 8-10

Submitted By: chefmoni