Cardamom has a sweet and warm taste that makes you think of clove, allspice and pepper all wrapped in one spice. Mix it with pistachios and add to cheesecake for a dessert that suggests the exotic flavors of India. —Carolyn Harkonnen, Loomis, California
- 1-1/4 cups finely crushed animal crackers
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 drop green food coloring, optional
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
- Sweetened whipped cream, optional
- Additional chopped pistachios and animal cracker crumbs, optional
- Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
- In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and brown sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the milk, lemon juice, cardamom and, if desired, food coloring. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in pistachios. Pour over crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to larger pan.
- Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen edges from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove rim from pan. Top cheesecake with whipped cream and sprinkle with pistachios and cracker crumbs if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Pistachio Cardamom Cheesecake in Taste of Home April/May 2012, p69
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