Amaretto-Amaretti Chocolate Cheesecake

16 servings

This is my family's absolute favorite chocolate cheesecake. They even request this on their birthday. The cookies used in this cheesecake really make is special, but they can be hard to find and I have substituted a comparable amaretti macroon with good results.
CRUST
*7 ounces Amaretti di Saronno,
Lazzaroni & Company cookies
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened chocolate 2-1/2 ounces sweet butter
Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Butter the sides only of a 9-inch spring form pan which may be 2-1/2 to 3 inches deep.
The Amaretti cookies must be ground very fine. Place them in a food processor bowl fitted with the steel blade or in a blender. Process until you have made fine crumbs. You should have 1-1/3 to 1-1/2 cups of crumbs.
Place the crumbs in a mixing bowl and stir in the sugar.

Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Stir occasionally until melted. Add the melted chocolate and butter to the Amaretti crumbs and sugar. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. With your fingers distribute it evenly over the bottom of the pan. It must be very firm, compact layer and should be on the bottom only, not the sides.
Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
FILLING
6 ounces semisweet chocolate *7 ounces Amaretti di Saronno,
Lazzaroni & Company cookies
1/3 cup Amaretto di Saronno liqueur 4 ounces almond paste
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temp. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs (large or x-large) 1/2 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate in the top of a small 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.

Coarsely crush the Amaretti (leave them in their wrappers and pound them with a mallet or cleaver). Unwrap the macaroons and place them in a bowl and set aside.

Cut the almond paste into very small pieces and place it 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 the bowl aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.
Add the sugar and beat until smooth again. Add the almond paste Amaretto mixture and beat once again until thoroughly mixed.
Add the 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 is light and airy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the coarsely broken macaroons just until mixed.
Turn into the prepared pan, pouring the mixture over the bottom crust. Rotate the pan gently, first in one direction, then the other, to level the batter. If you have used a cake pan that is 2-1/2 inches deep the cheesecake mixture will come almost to the top of the pan. It is O. K., it will not run over.

Bake for 55 minutes. It will seem soft and not done, but do not bake any longer; it will firm when it is chilled. Remove from the oven. The top will look bumpy because of the large chunks of Amaretti.

Set aside and let stand at room temperature until completely cool. Then carefully remove the sides of the pan. Refrigerate the cake, which is still on the bottom of the pan for 4-6 hours or overnight.
*Make sure the liqueur and the macaroons are made with apricot kernels, not almonds.
Recipe from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts