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Raspberry Pistachio Cheesecake from John Barricelli of the SoNo Baking Company

Raspberry Pistachio Cheesecake from John Barricelli of the SoNo Baking Company
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            Just before Thanksgiving, Andrew heard from a friend from his college days requesting a dessert recipe using raspberries.  Well it took all of two minutes to remember a spectacular cheesecake he made earlier in the season.  But why it has never made an appearance on these pages is a bit of a puzzle.  The cake is the essence of what a truly great cheesecake should taste like–extremely, densely creamy with that wonderful tang from the touch of sour cream that’s added to the batter.  But in this version there’s so much more…a pistachio-flavored graham cracker crust, more pistachios ringing the cake and topping the whole thing off, a layer of brilliant red raspberries.  In planning our offerings for the dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I wanted to give our readers some easy weeknight meals and also to give some ideas for fantastic desserts for all the entertaining that happens this season. It was a no-brainer to include this phenomenal cake because it even looks like Christmas with it’s red and green coloration.  Raspberries, while hardly in season, are one of those fruits that are increasingly found year ‘round so it shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off this.  And oh what a response you can expect when the first bite puts everyone’s taste buds into high gear.  And the surprising thing is Andrew says it’s not at all hard to make, it just looks it! 

         This recipe is yet another from one of our favorite bakers, John Barricelli.  It’s from his “The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, 2010).  The SoNo in the title is for the Chef’s South Norwalk Connecticut bakery.   I really wish we lived anywhere near this place because we consistently love everything that Chef Barricelli has on offer.  He is a third generation baker and in his recipe he mentions his father Joseph’s passion for cheesecake.  Unfortunately, the chef’s father never lived to taste his son’s invention.  But it has become one of the all-time best sellers at The SoNo Baking Company.  The chef doesn’t limit the topping to raspberries but points out that strawberries, blueberries, even kiwis can be used to top the cake. 
          This cake requires a “Bain-Marie” which, simply stated, means the cake pan bakes in a water bath.  “Bain-Marie” gets its name from a piece of kitchen equipment we’re all familiar with: the double boiler.   But in this instance, it refers to the technique which involves taking a spring mold pan and using 18 inch wide Heavy Duty aluminum foil to completely encase the spring mold so that no water seeps in.  The big sheet is ideal for this purpose whereas a standard roll of aluminum foil would necessitate a seam–never a great idea in a bain marie.  The spring mold is then put into a roasting pan and boiling water is poured in to within a half inch of the top of the spring mold. 
            Once baked the cake requires a 4 to 6 hour stint in the refrigerator so you might want to start it one afternoon and finish it off the next day.  Here’s the recipe  which will make 1 9-inch cheesecake that serves 10. That is if you not tempted to eat the whole thing all by yourself.  It’s that good. 

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