Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, 12 to 16 servings.
Cooking spray 1½ cups slivered almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, at room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon, bitter white pith removed
1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
1½ pounds low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound regular cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature*
No nutrition information available
1. Optional garnishes – fresh berries, kiwi slices, apricot wedges, candied lemon peel and or/ Simple Raspberry Sauce (recipe follows) Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a 9x3-inch springform or cheesecake pan with cooking spray.
2. Insert the metal “s” blade in the Cuisinart® Food Processor. Pulse to chop the almonds with the brown sugar, 5 times, add the butter and process until almonds are finely ground. Place in prepared pan. Press firmly and evenly onto the bottom and about ½-inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the topping and filling. Leave the oven on. Wipe the work bowl and metal blade clean of nuts with a paper towel. Insert the metal ”s” blade; process the lemon zest with ½ cup of the sugar until finely chopped, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the remaining sugar and cream cheese, process 30 seconds; scrape the work bowl. (If you have a smaller capacity food processor, do this in 2 steps.) Add the lemon juice and vanilla, process 30 seconds; scrape the work bowl. Add the eggs, process 20 seconds; scrape the work bowl. Process 20 seconds longer. Scrape the work bowl, if there are still visible lumps of cream cheese, process for an additional 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Place a sheet of plastic wrap (about 16x16-inches) on top of a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil the same size. Place the springform pan in the center and wrap the exterior tightly. Pour the cream cheese mixture into cooled crust. Place in a larger roasting or baking pan and add hot water until it comes up the sides of the pan by 1-inch. Bake in the preheated 350oven for 80 to 90 minutes – top will be light golden and center will be set but slightly jiggly when done. Remove from the oven.
5. Remove the outer foil/plastic wrap and let cool completely on a rack. over with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving. May be served plain, with fresh fruit, or with a fruit/berry sauce. May be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw in refrigerator on a rack for 24 hours before serving.