Creamy Amaretto Cheesecake
This is an easy recipe for a smooth textured, creamy cheesecake flavored with a combination of almond extract, toasted almonds and Amaretto. For a non-alcoholic version, as well as a few flavor varieties, check the recipe notes.
For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the filling:
- 1 lb regular cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/3 cups sour cream
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
Prepare the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and position a rack in the lower portion. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl until well mixed. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press firmly into an even layer in the bottom. Set aside.
Prepare the topping:
- Place the sliced almonds between two sheets of waxed paper and crush into small bits with a meat pounder or rolling pin. In a small bowl, toss the crushed almonds with the melted butter and sugar. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place in the oven to toast lightly while you prepare the filling, about 7 or 8 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the sour cream, melted butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and Amaretto and blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pour into the springform pan, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. The cake should appear set but still wiggle in the center if gently shaken from side to side.
- When the cheesecake is done, shut off the oven, open the door completely, and leave the cake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Gradual temperature changes help prevent the top from cracking. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake and place on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
To eliminate the alcohol from this recipe, increase the almond extract to 1-1/2 teaspoons and add 2-1/2 tablespoons of milk.
For a lemony variation, substitute lemon extract for the almond and use Limoncello instead of Amaretto. The quantities remain the same. Reserve a tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture for topping. You can also make an orange version ~ substitute orange extract for the almond and Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec) for the Amaretto. Top with some shaved dark chocolate.
For a gluten-free crust, see Emmy's recipe in the comments below.