Hazelnut Truffle Cheesecake
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter (no substitutions), cut up
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
20 whole hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, melted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Make Crust: Heat oven to 350 degree F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the 1/2 cup nuts and the 2 tablespoons sugar in food processor; process until finely ground. Add flour and salt; pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture just begins to hold together. Pat mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack. Keep oven on. Cover bottom and outside of pan with heavy-duty foil.
Make Filling: Beat cream cheese in large bowl on medium-high speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the 1-1/4 cups sugar, scraping side of bowl, until mixture is smooth, 3
minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Beat in the 12 ounces melted chocolate, the vanilla, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Beat in cream and cocoa until blended.
Pour Filling into Crust; place in roasting pan. Place pan on oven rack. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until center is just set.
Remove cheesecake from water bath. Cool completely on wire rack. Remove foil. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, run small, sharp knife around edge of pan; remove side. Dip each whole nut halfway into the 2 ounces melted chocolate and arrange around edge of cake. Drizzle or pipe remaining chocolate over cake.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Decorate with whole nuts and melted chocolate directed.