Cannoli Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

photo: courtesy of food network

Spring is the time of year when we celebrate rebirth and the emergence of sunshine, warmth and the earth reawakening from its winter slumber. How better to rejoice during this season than with afternoons with family and friends, enjoying each others' company over slices of cheesecake and macchiatos? Or how about a cordial glass of port or sherry instead?  Try bringing this to Easter or to a new neighbor as a 'welcome to the neighborhood' gesture. We can almost guarantee you'll be invited back time and time again. 

This recipe riffs on the flavors of classic italian cannoli: mascarpone cheese (similar to American cream cheese in texture but with a less tangy flavor profile), a hint of lemon & mini chocolate chips.

Instead of the pastry shell casing this cake's crunch comes from its crust made of crushed biscotti. We used our Chocolate Chip Brownie soft-baked biscotti flavor here but if you prefer less chocolate feel free to swap in the Original or Coffee Cake flavors. Both would suit nicely. 

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CANNOLI CHEESECAKE, adapted from Giada c/o FoodNetwork.com

INGREDIENTS: 

10 x 1oz Chocolate Chip Brownie Soft-Baked Biscotti (A 2-Pack or try a family pack to have some left over)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 x 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 x 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 

3 eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the biscotti to fine crumbs in a food processor. Drizzle in the butter, add the salt and pulse until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.


Bake for 8 minutes, until the crust smells toasted and is beginning to brown. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Add the salt, vanilla and lemon zest; beat on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips.


Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center of the cake still moves just slightly.


Allow the cheesecake to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the collar.

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