Baked Sunday Mornings: Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake

Although I'm not generally a big fan of cheesecake, I do love pistachios. So I was happy to see Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule in honor of National Pistachio Day.

This cheesecake is supposed to have a chocolate cookie crust. When I need chocolate cookie crumbs for a recipe, I normally use homemade Faux-reos; I often have some stashed in my freezer just in case the need arises. I found some Faux-reos in the freezer, but I was a little short (I only had eight ounces and the recipe calls for twelve), and plus, they tasted a bit stale. So I decided to use graham cracker crumbs instead.

The crust is a mixture of cookie (or in my case graham cracker) crumbs, ground pistachios, sugar, salt, and melted butter. While the recipe calls for a tall springform pan (between two and a half to three inches tall), I used a shorter (two-inch tall) cheesecake pan with a removable bottom. And I ended up with what seemed like a ridiculous amount of crust. It was déjà vu -- the exact same thing happened when I made the Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake from Baked Elements a few years ago. I pressed the crumb mixture into a thick and even crust and baked it until firm.

The cheesecake filling is a mixture of ground pistachios, softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, eggs, an egg yolk, and heavy cream. You divide the filling into two equal parts. You add melted white chocolate to one half of the batter, pour it into the cooled crust and chill the pan briefly. You add green food coloring to the other half of the batter (I added just enough to make it distinguishable from the white chocolate layer) and pour it on top of the white chocolate layer. I had some leftover green batter than wouldn't fit into the pan (no doubt my own fault for using a shorter pan) and so I just threw it out.
During baking, the cheesecake rose straight up out of the crust like a soufflé. Fortunately, there was no overflow and the cheesecake didn't develop a single crack on top. After the cheesecake was baked, I spread sour cream on top and put the cake back into oven -- after turning off the heat -- for an hour. The sour cream layer turned translucent and I chilled the cheesecake overnight.

The following morning the cheesecake released easily from the pan and had a nice firm texture that sliced cleanly. The top green layer was thinner than the bottom ivory layer since I had discarded a significant amount of excess green batter. I really liked this cheesecake. I was afraid that it would be overly heavy -- especially because of the addition of white chocolate -- but it was rich and creamy without being too filling. The added flavor and texture from the ground pistachios was the highlight. And I also thought the graham cracker crust was a terrific pairing -- although chocolate is also a great flavor combination was pistachio, so I can see why the recipe includes a chocolate cookie crust.

I might make this again if I was baking for someone who really likes cheesecake and pistachios. But I prefer the Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake for its light texture. While I love the flavor and lusciousness of cream cheese, my own personal preference is for cream cheese desserts that are a bit lighter.

Recipe: "Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Anonymous said…
I did the same thing with the crust-- graham sounded like a better combo with the pistachios. I, too, had an excess of crust, so it was really thick, which caused it to slump down a little, so I couldn't use all my batter either-- I ended up throwing out a little bit of both. I liked it more than I thought I would too-- it's a keeper for me, though I would tweak a couple of things next time. I like your subtle green! :)