"An elegant dessert is a terrific way to end a dinner party," Paula Hendrich writes. "I especially like the ones that can be prepared a day ahead. Sometimes I find that I don't exactly have the right ingredients, so I improvise. In this case, the variation on a tried-and-true recipe from my sister-in-law for a rich chocolate cheesecake produced wonderful results."
3 1/2 ounces unblanched almonds
10 butter pecan cookies (homemade or purchased)
10 graham crackers
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut up and softened
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla
Finely chop almonds in food processor. Add cookies and graham crackers and process until cookies and crumbs are well mixed with almonds.
Mix in melted butter. Line bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan, pressing firmly against pan and extending crumb mixture well up on sides of pan.
Beat eggs well in food processor. Gradually add sugar through feeder tube, blending until lemon colored. Add cream cheese and cottage cheese, mixing until completely smooth. Melt chocolate and blend into egg mixture with vanilla.
Pour mixture into crumb-lined pan. Bake at 325 degrees about 1 1/2 hours (cake will puff like souffle and begin to go down, then set in middle) or until knife inserted in center tests dry. Top will have slight crack in center, which will be covered by topping.
Cool in refrigerator several hours. Spread with Topping. Chill to set Topping. Top with raspberries around edge of cheesecake and garnish with petals made of slivered almonds. Makes about 12 servings.
5 ounces milk chocolate (2 bars)
2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping
Melt milk chocolate. Cool. Blend into whipped topping until smooth.
Rancho Palos Verdes