Clementine Almond Cheesecake

 

This year, I want to improve my baking skills, so I joined Abby Dodge (www.abbydodge.com) and her group in #baketogether. She posts one recipe a month and invites the community to participate by putting their own twists on her recipe which she publishes at the site. Last month we baked bread. For February, it's cheesecake. I've never been much of a cheesecake baker. The ones I've tried over the years have been failures--cracked, dry. Abby's instructions were clear and well drawn, so I decided to go for it. My initial plan was to use meyer lemons, but I must have been in mind meld with other members of the #baketogether community because there are at least 4 lemon cheesecake recipes posted as of right now. So I decided to go with orange and almond--a favorite combination--and I have a bag of the sweetest clementines in the world on my kitchen counter. I used Trader Joe's vanilla wafers, sliced almonds and clementine zest in the crust, and pureed clementines, almond extract and orange extract in the cake itself.

What you will need

10 ounces plain cookies (I used vanilla, but chocolate wafers or gingersnaps would be equally good)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 pinch kosher salt

zest of 3 large clementines (reserve fruit)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

3 large clementines that you reserved after zesting

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

4 large eggs, room temperature

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