Everyone must know by now how much my family likes cheesecake, so I make at least one a week. Seriously, at least one. I also like to try different flavors. This one is quite tasty and I must admit the idea to use Irish Cream came after I already added the heavy cream, so please feel free to skip the heavy cream and increase the amount of Irish Cream for a fuller flavor.
You can see in the photo the white “topping” layer. Do not skip this step. I add it to nearly every cheesecake that I make and it adds a little something to the flavor while also avoiding a plain, flat cheesecake top which can detract from the creamy goodness below.
One strong word of caution, keep your mixer on low speed, you do not want to rush any of the mixing, as you do not want to introduce any air into the cheesecake mix.
Crust – gf (8″ pan)
-1 1/4 c. shortbread or gingerbread cookie crumbs
-1/4 c. ground nuts (I used almonds, but pecans or walnuts are wonderful too)
-1/4 c. brown sugar
-6 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
-3 pkgs. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (full fat only), at room temp.
-1 cups sugar
-¼ cup heavy cream (or 1/2 c. Irish Cream and no heavy cream)
-¼ cup Irish Cream
-1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
-3 large eggs, at room temperature
-½ teaspoon pure almond extract
-16 oz. sour cream
-1/4 c. sugar
-1 tsp. Irish Cream
Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a 8″ springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap, then again with foil. You will be baking the cheesecake in a water bath, so it is imperative to keep the water from seeping in. You can stop here, but I also line the inside with parchment paper. This is tricky to write, but here goes. Take a long piece parchment and place it on the bottom of the springform pan; then, put the bottom into the round from the bottom, the parchment should remain relatively flat. Snap the springform and then wrap with saran and foil. This makes it easier to slid off of the bottom and onto your serving plate but it unnecessary if you don’t care to do it. Bake for 12-15 minutes or unitl set and beginning to brown. Set on a rack to cool, do not remove the wrapping.
In a food processor, add your cookies and process until it is in small crumbs. Move to a bowl and process the nuts until the same size as the cookie crumbs. Add to the bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix until well incorporated. Stream in the melted butter and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and if there is enough, partially up the sides. Bake at 350 Degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set. Allow to fully cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream sugar and Irish Cream and set aside, covered, on the counter. You want this at room temperature when you put it on the cheesecake.
Heat the oven to 325° (note that the oven is cooler than when baking the crust) and place your baking pan (not the crust, the pan that will hold the water and crust; I use a large roaster) in the over to warm. In a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar, blend for several minutes until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom every minute or so. The smoother your filling as you mix, the creamier your cheesecake will be. Add the almond extract while still mixing. Scrape the sides again, and add the cream in a slow stream. Continue mixing and scraping, and add the Irish Cream. When fully incorporated and smooth, add the eggs – one at a time – and continue mixing. Be sure to crack the eggs, 1 by 1, into a measuring cup or small bowl to be sure that none of the shell accidentally falls into the mixing bowl. Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan and place the pan into the roasting pan that is also preheated. Add boiling water to the roasting pan taking care not to get any water into the cheesecake batter. Put enough water to come 1/3 of the way up the sides of the cheesecake. Bake for 60-75 minutes. Open the door of the oven and pull the cheesecake out. The sides will be firm, but the center of the cheesecake will giggle slightly, truly slightly, when you tap the side with a wooden spoon.
Immediately pour the room temperature topping on the cheesecake, smooth it out with an offset knife and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and from the water bath. Immediately place on a cooling rack and remove the foil/plastic wrap. Don’t burn yourself, but take the wrapping off as soon as possible as it will be holding water. Allow to cool for an hour then refrigerate until fully cooled before cutting, at least 6 hours, but better if you can refrigerate for 8 before cutting.
Run an offset knive around the edge fo the ring, and unsnap. Remove the ring and move the cheesecake to your serving platter. I grated a little fresh nutmeg over the top.
Serve alone, or with an additional topping of your choice. This cheesecake pairs nicely with a caramel drizzle and a nice cup of espresso.