Monday, December 21, 2009

Best one yet: Pistachio Cheesecake


 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 6 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 5 eggs
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream and chopped pistachios, optional

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour and almonds; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/4 in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, milk and pudding mixes until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet. Reduce heat to 350°. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool on a 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. Slice cheesecake; drizzle slices with chocolate syrup. Garnish with whipped cream and pistachios if desired. Yield: 12 -14 servings.
In August I spent a week in Kentucky working for my Uncle Ivan. While there, my cousin Quin and I went to Baskin Robbins or some such ice cream place and I got pistachio ice cream. It was delicious. And it made me think of how awesome a pistachio cheesecake would be. About a month later, I went to Barnes and Noble and contemplated buying a cheesecake recipe book - mostly because there was a recipe for pistachio cheesecake.

So I've been craving this for a while.

In a previous post, you read that I auctioned off my amazing cheesecake-making capabilities at our ward service auction. Having done so, I bought the cream cheese while it was on sale and waited to be told what kind and for who exactly. Only, I haven't heard anything, so I decided to make the above recipe for the guys at work. They've been showering me with presents and treats and sveets (read: sv-eets) all last week and this morning so much that my blood has turned to syrup, so I thought I would make it up to them.

The recipe is pretty good. I would change only two things. I did not like the almond crust. It was way too chalky (probably my fault) and actually too thick (also, my fault). I usually like a thicker crust, but this wasn't the best. In fact, I would change it to be more like the crust my mom uses for her barber shop dessert. It's basically the same thing, only pecans instead of almonds and probably more butter. Or, a graham cracker crust would be good too.

The other thing I didn't like was the fact that the pistachio flavor is so subtle. You could probably add a third package of the pudding, or some pistachio extract (do they make that?) or something - maybe put some chopped nuts in before you bake it. Make sure that you mix the ingredients really well, because there isn't a lot of liquid (zero liquid, except the eggs) and it isn't as runny as I've had before with baking other cheesecakes. That kind of frightened me, so I added an extra egg, which caused it to bake about two inches out of the pan. It didn't make a mess, just made it rise a lot higher and baked the top. I sort of over cooked it, but I took the time to cut that part off, so the inside was good.

I did not put chocolate on it - it would have killed me. But I did put a thick layer of cool-whip on before I put it in the fridge over night and garnished it with chopped pistachios and maraschino cherries. Which were both an excellent idea.

I think this is my favorite cheesecake to date. If your daughter isn't allergic to nuts (sorry, Mom) I would recommend trying it!

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