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Cheesecake, Leon Hirschbaum's Golden (D, TNT)
Source: "N.Y. Times"
Serves: 18 or more

1/4 lb. Italian amaretti macaroons
1 lb. ricotta cheese, undrained
3 lbs. real cream cheese
1 lb. superfine sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 lemon rind, grated
8 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Crush macaroons very finely in a blender or processor. Butter bottom and sides of the pan. Swirl crumbs around the bottom and sides of pan. Let extra crumbs rest on the bottom of pan.

Place ricotta cheese in the bowl of mixer and beat on medium for 2-3 minutes. Add about 8 oz. of cream cheese every two minutes and continue beating until smoothly blended, always at medium speed.

Gradually beat in sugar and salt. When blended, add sugar and lemon rind.

Gradually beat in eggs one at a time, waiting until each is blended before adding the next. Turn batter into baking pan.

Set in a larger baking pan and pour enough cold water to come half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 1/2 hour. Reduce heat to 325°F and bake an additional 30 minutes. Turn oven off; DO NOT OPEN DOOR! Let cake remain in oven for one hour.

Remove cheesecake from water bath and stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Chill several hours or overnight.

To serve, invert cheesecake onto a platter. The bottom will become the top.

Poster's Notes:
This is the best cheesecake I have ever tasted! It cooks in a bain marie which gives it a silky like texture. I usually make it for Shavout, and it is eagerly awaited by my whole family. The recipe originally came from the N.Y. Times but from so long ago, I can't remember when.

It certainly is not for the cholesterol-challenged, but every once a while I like to splurge. If you can't get Kosher-type meringue macaroons, use zweiback or graham cracker crumbs mixed with ground almonds. Small curd cottage cheese can be substituted for the ricotta.

Because this cake is baked in a waterbath, it has a texture like a delicate satiny custard, but it doesn't brown on top for the same reason. Therefore the cake is served inverted with the crumbs on the top and sides.

Mr. Hirschbaum uses a 3"-deep round aluminum pan with an 11" diameter on top and tapering to 8-1/2" on the bottom. A 10" pan can be substituted, but don't use a springform. I found a pan that looks like a small washtub with approximately the same dimensions and use my roaster pan as a bain marie (water bath).

Posted by Judith Sobel

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A