white chocolate raspberry cheesecake

This is one of my stand-by recipes for when I want to impress or spoil someone I love!  (and if I’ve made this for you before…  now you know how I feel!)  :o)  This could easily compete with a well known cheesecake restaurant’s version, for a fraction of the price!  Oh and remember, your cooking is only as good as the ingredients you start with, so please use good quality real white chocolate!  (not the white baking chips you might be used to!)

  1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  3 tablespoons sugar
  1/4 cup butter, melted
  1 (10oz) package frozen raspberries
  2 tablespoons sugar
  2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1/2 cup water
  2 cups chopped (good-quality) white chocolate
  1/2 cup half & half
  3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  1/2 cup sugar
  3 eggs
  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1.  Mix together crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and melted butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.   Wrap the outside of the pan well with 2 layers of aluminum foil, to help prevent leaks, and place in a roasting pan.
  2.  In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch and water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.  Strain through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
  3.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and set some water to boil for later.  In a double boiler, (or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water – making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), melt the white chocolate with the half & half, stirring occasionally until smooth. 
  4.  Mix together the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Blend in the vanilla and melted white chocolate.  Pour half of the batter over the crust.  Spoon 3 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce over the batter.  Pour remaining cheesecake batter into the pan and spoon another 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top.  Swirl with the tip of a knife for a marbled effect.
  5.  Place the cheesecake (set in the roasting pan) in the oven and fill the pan with boiling water about half way up the side of the springform pan.  Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until it is almost set in the center, then turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another hour (the purpose of this is to help prevent sinking and cracks, which do not affect the flavor, but the beauty of the cheesecake!).  Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from the pan.  Serve with remaining raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.
**This recipe is a great make ahead dessert, as it keeps well, and gets better as it chills for a day or two!  :o)  As with any cheesecake, freezing is simple (wrapped well with plastic wrap and foil) and the cheesecake take only minutes to thaw and serve!
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