A decadent layer of pistachio brittle is the highlight of this luscious cheesecake. The vanilla sugar sprinkled on top bakes into a caramelized crown reminiscent of a crème brûlée.
1 cup unsalted shelled pistachio nuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a baking sheet, set aside.
- Toast pistachio nuts on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 minutes. When cooled, chop coarsely. Set aside.
- Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil until slightly brown. Reduce heat and cook, without stirring, until a rich brown color. Stir in pistachio nuts and quickly spread onto oiled baking sheet. Cool completely and break into small pieces. Process in a food processor until almost powdered; set aside.
- Lower oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter a 10-inch springform pan.
- Melt chocolate pieces in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from heat and pour into springform pan. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Smooth pistachio layer on top of chocolate; freeze another 15 minutes.
- Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add sour cream, beating until incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time. Pour mixture over chilled pistachio layer.
- In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla. Evenly distribute over cream cheese layer in pan.
- Bake cheesecake for 75 minutes; remove and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.
Makes 12 servings.
Recipe provided courtesy of the California Pistachio Commission.