Few things compare to a light, airy cheesecake for an afternoon dessert. This sweet, refreshing treat, courtesy of Unwritten Recipes blogger Felicia Levinson, will have you on cloud nine. Garnish with anything from bee pollen to candied lemons to rosemary to change up the characteristics of this simple and delicious dessert.
1½ cups ground almonds
3 Tbsp brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1½ lbs brick cream cheese, softened
4 egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp plus ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 pint sour cream
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the almonds and brown sugar. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Pour the melted butter into the almond mixture and combine well. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan only, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
In another small saucepan, over low heat, warm the cream cheese. Stir often. When it’s very smooth, remove it from the heat and set aside.
Place the egg whites into the large bowl of an electric mixer. If using a stand mixer, attach the whisk attachment, otherwise just use the regular beaters for a handheld mixer. Add 1 cup of the sugar and beat on high until the whites hold soft peaks. Remove from the mixer and gently fold in the warmed cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out only slightly moist. You don’t want the top of the cake to get brown.
While cake is baking, whisk sour cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla together in a small bowl until well combined. When cake appears done, remove from the oven, turn the heat up to 450ºF and carefully spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cake. Once oven temperature is reached, return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes. Don’t leave it in any longer or it will crack and turn brown.
Cool cake in pan on rack. When completely cool, wrap well and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight. The flavors really need a chance to develop. To serve, run a knife around edge of pan and loosen sides off. Cut into wedges.
Cheesecake can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for several days.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Tasting Room via the New York TImes and Amanda Hesser.