I know I'm in the minority here, but to be honest I've never been that enamoured by cheesecake. I find it to be the 'beige' of desserts. There's nothing that offensive about it in principle, but it's not much to get excited about. Plus, the majority of chilled cheesecakes contain gelatine, so I feel better off not taking the risk.
However, a proper, baked cheesecake is a slightly different matter. And it's really not as hard to pull off as people would have you believe.
Here's a cheesecake to get excited about... The base has less crunch than a traditional cheesecake because of the inclusion of ground almonds. It's smooth and mellow, and feels like angels dancing on your tongue...
Almond and vanilla baked cheesecake
40g ground almonds
20g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, melted
a little extra butter for greasing the tin
300g full fat cream cheese
1 tblsp plain flour
80g caster sugar
1tsp almond extract
1tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Take a 6-7 inch springform tin. Grease the bottom and line it with baking paper, and grease the sides.
2. For the base, mix together all of the ingredients, and compress into the bottom of your tin. Bake for about 10 minutes at 160 degrees celcius, then remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees celcius.
3. For the topping, beat together all of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed, then pour over the biscuit base. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in there to cool. This will stop the top from cracking.
Alternatively, if the mouthwatering smell is driving you crazy, you can remove it from the oven and serve it as soon as it's cool enough to handle and blow the cracked-top consequences. If you're lucky, you might just get a cute pi-symbol crack for your gluttony. I can live with that...