Cinna Berry Cheesecake with White Choc & Toasted Almonds

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Cinna Berry Cheesecake with White Choc & Toasted Almonds

My partner is my guinea pig.  I make him try everything I create, and he can be brutally honest (it’s a good thing, I know).  Not all my creations are a success.  I can think of a certain purple gravy (yuck), mediocre perogies, and sometimes I wonder if he’ll wake up one morning with cheesecake coming out of his ears or a Philadelphia logo on his butt.

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HOWEVER- this cheesecake is his all time favourite.  It’s a slightly gentler flavour.  The ingredients are delicate on the palate, and are tied together with a creamier cheesecake core.  I used slightly less cream cheese and slightly more cream/sour cream/greek yogurt, resulting in a cake that tasted like a cross between baked and chilled Cheesecake.

** Side note: to make any of my cheesecakes Gluten Free (as I do, a good friend of mine is intolerant), simply substitute the graham crackers for gluten-free biscuits easily found in your grocers Gluten Free section.

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Ingredients

For crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

For cheesecake filling

  • 1 8oz packages cream cheese (always full fat with cheesecake), room temp
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt (full fat always, just like the cream cheese)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup thickened cream
  • 3 whole eggs, 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

For chocolate layer

  • 115 g white chocolate
  • 1/8 cup thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup marshmallows

Garnish

  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar

Directions:

Place rack in centre of oven and preheat to 350F (176C).

Grease springform pan.  You can use whichever size you’d like, just take into account: the bigger the pan, the thinner the cake, the shorter the cooking time 🙂.

Using a food processor or a bag and rolling pin, make fine crumbs out of your cookies.  Melt the butter in pan over medium heat.  Combine the two in a large bowl, add salt.  Press into pan bottom, and slightly up the sides.  Bake 10 min.

Remove from oven and reduce heat to 320F (150C).  Allow crust to cool.

Melt the white chocolate in a small pot over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the 1/8 cup thickened cream.  Slowly add the marshmallows until completely melted. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.  Pour chocolate mixture evenly onto crust.  Pop it into the fridge.

Cream together cream cheese and mascarpone until smooth and creamy (no lumps), using a large bowl and a hand mixer/stand mixer.

Add sugar, blend 2 min.  Scrape sides of bowl and blend for another 2 min.  Salt, blend, scape. Vanilla, blend, scrape. Greek Yogurt, blend, scrape. Sour cream, cream, mascarpone, lemon juice, blend, scrape. Cinnamon, blend. Beat in eggs and yolk, one at a time.

Wrap springform pan containing crust in tin foil.  Pour cheesecake batter on top of chilled white chocolate. Bake at 320F (150C) for 45 min, or until the top is golden, and most of the cake is firm when you move it (only the very middle jiggles a tiny bit).  After the 45 min, shut the oven off, open the door, but leave the cake in.  Cheesecake doesn’t like quick temperature changes (makes it crack).  After a few minutes, pull it out of the oven and onto a cooling rack.  Run a knife between the cake and the side of the pan to further prevent cracking (cake contracts when cooling).  Allow to cool at room temp for 30 mins.  Place in freezer for a minimum 2 hours, but, honestly, it’s best after being left overnight.

Shortly before serving, line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Spread the almond slivers over top.  Sprinkle with a little salt and caster sugar, if you’d like, and then bake for about 5-10 mins at 350F.  You’ll know when they’re ready, as your kitchen will smell like heaven, and the almonds will darken as toast does.  It happens fast, be careful!

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Spread frozen berries over top of cheesecake.  Sprinkle almonds over top.  For best results, plate each piece of cheesecake for guests before sprinkling caster sugar heavily overtop (it melts quickly!!).

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