Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake


7 ounces (about 30) Amaretti di Saronno Lazzaroni & Co. macaroons
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
5 tablespoons sweet butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
7 ounces (about 30) Amaretti di Saronno Lazzaroni & Co. macaroons
4 ounces almond paste cut into very small pieces
1/3 cup Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, large or extra large
1/2 cup heavy cream


Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides only of a 9-inch springform pan. Place amaretti in a food-processor bowl fitted with the steel blade, or in a blender. Process or blend until you have made very fine crumbs. (In a blender, you may have to do this in batches.) You should have 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Place the crumbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Stir occasionally until melted. Add to amaretti crumb mixture and stir to mix thoroughly. Turn into the springform pan and distribute it over the bottom and press firmly. It must be a very firm and compact layer, and on bottom only. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Filling: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Cover until partially melted, then uncover and stir until completely melted. Remove the top of the double boiler and set it aside, uncovered, to cool slightly.

Place the amaretti in their tissue wrappings on a cutting board. With a hammer, hit each package hard enough to break the macaroons coarsely, but not hard enough to tear the paper. Place the broken macaroons in a bowl and set aside.

Place almond paste pieces in the small bowl of an electric mixer. While beating on low speed, very gradually add the Amaretto liqueur and beat until thoroughly mixed. Set aside. In the large bowl of the electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the almond paste mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add melted chocolate and beat well once more. Set the mixer at low speed and add the eggs one at a time and beat only until they are incorporated after each addition. Add the heavy cream and beat only until smooth. This cheesecake should not be beaten until it becomes light and airy. Add the broken macaroons and stir together gently only to mix. Pour mixture evenly over the bottom crust.

Bake for 45 minutes. It will seem soft and not done, but do not bake any longer; it will become firm when it is chilled. Remove from oven. The top will look bumpy because of the amaretti. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool. Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Refrigerate the cake for 4 hours to 6 hours or overnight. You may leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan; set on a folded napkin to keep it from sliding when serving. You can remove the cake from the bottom by carefully sliding a sharp, heavy knife between the crust and pan bottom and slowly rotating the knife around the pan to release the cake. Take 2 large spatulas, slide under the crust and lift cake to serving plate. Serve cold. This cheesecake freezes very well.

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