SPAGO CHEESECAKE

Butter Crunch Crust:

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Filling

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

METHOD

PRESENTATION

WINE

RECOMMENDATION

Instructions for Spago Cheesecake Recipe

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the butter crunch with your hands, until the mixture resembles very small pebbles.

Press the Butter Crunch Crust into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and cover base completely. Wrap heavy-duty foil (or 2 layers of regular foil) around the bottom and up the sides of the pan, pleating to tighten. Bake crust for about 8 minutes until lightly golden.

Make the filling: Place the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle or beaters, on medium speed, beat until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and under the beaters with a rubber spatula. Turn the speed to high and continue to beat until nice and creamy. Stop the machine, add the sour cream, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla, then , on medium speed, continue beating until well blended. Add eggs and beat just until combined. Scrape into the prepared springform pan and set the pan in the center of a larger baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the larger pan to reach about halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but not about the foil.

Carefully place both pans in the oven and bake until the top is lightly golden and slightly firm in the center, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. (Cake will become firmer as it cools.) Remove pans from the oven and carefully lift out the springform pan and place on a rack. Remove foil from pan to help cool the cake. When completely cool, refrigerate, covered, overnight. (The cake should not be served until it is very firm.)

Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 10-12

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