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Pistachio Cheesecake

(Makes one 9-inch cheesecake)
Pistachio Cheesecake

5 ounces cantuccini or almond biscotti
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup pistachio paste
4 eggs

1 cup heavy cream, sweetened and beaten to stiff peaks
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Put the ricotta in a strainer over a bowl to remove excess water.  Wrap foil under the bottom and about 2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a food processor, grind the cantuccini or biscotti until fine.  Add the melted butter and process until the mixture is well moistened.  Press the biscotti crumb mixture on the bottom of the springform pan.  Bake 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

In a clean food processor bowl or with an electric mixer, blend the drained ricotta until smooth.  Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well.  Add the honey, vanilla and almond extracts and the pistachio paste; blend well.  Add the egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is smooth.  Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan.

Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of  the springform pan.  Bake for 65 minutes, or until the cheesecake is lightly golden.  The center of the cake will still move slightly when the pan is gently shaken.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate to chill completely before serving.

Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, use a pastry bag to pipe the whipped cream on top of the cake; sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top. 
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Cantuccini are mini biscotti cookies made with almonds.  They are delicious with a cup of coffee, or to crumble on top of ice cream, or simply enjoy with a glass of milk.   Product of Italy.
Pistachio paste may be difficult to find in your area. Here's a recipe for Pistachio Paste that creates a very flavorful paste, although not as smooth and refined as the commercially-made product.
This is a luscious cheesecake made with a combination of ricotta and cream cheese flavored with the intense, woody flavor of pistachios on a crunchy biscotti crust.  It is a unique cheesecake that will be sure to impress your family and friends.
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