CHERI'S CHEESECAKE FACTORY CHEESECAKE
Crust:
1/4 cup pecans, finely ground, 1 ounce
1/4 cup almonds, finely ground, 1 ounce
1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground, 1 ounce
3/4 cup almond meal, 3 ounces
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
5 eggs, room temperature (see update below)
1/4 cup whey protein isolate or wheat protein isolate (see update below)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice, you'll need 1 small lemon
16 ounces sour cream

Mix the nuts and almond meal with the melted butter; press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan (see my comment below). Set aside while mixing the filling.

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, keeping the mixer on a low setting throughout the beating and mixing process. Add the granular Splenda a little at a time and continue beating until creamy (liquid Splenda can be added all at once). Add one egg at a time and beat very briefly after each egg. When the eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add the whey or wheat protein powder (see my comment below), vanilla and lemon juice, mix briefly, just until combined. Add the sour cream last and beat briefly.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the springform pan. Bake at 325 (300 for dark, nonstick pan) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check before an hour is up and if it's getting brown, turn the oven off and begin the next step. When the time is up, prop open the oven door, turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove from the oven. Cool to room temperature then chill 24 hours before serving.

Makes 16 servings
Can be frozen

With granular Splenda and crust:
Per Serving: 327 Calories; 30g Fat; 10g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 6g Net Carbs
With granular Splenda and no crust:
Per Serving: 251 Calories; 22g Fat; 8g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 5g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda and crust:
Per Serving: 319 Calories; 30g Fat; 10g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs
With liquid Splenda and no crust:
Per Serving: 243 Calories; 22g Fat; 8g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs

The recipe said to press the nut mixture up the sides of the pan to approximately 1 1/2 inches, if possible. I found that I only had enough to press it up the sides about 1/2 inch or there wasn't enough coverage on the bottom of the pan. I suggest gently stirring in the protein powder before attempting to beat it in with the mixer or else it will fly out of the bowl and make a mess.

My cheesecake rose more than an inch above the top of the pan and got very brown around the edges, forming a ridge. The center never got very brown, but it is done sufficiently. I suspect my problem may have been the dark nonstick pan that I used. I think the oven should be set a bit lower when using that type of pan.

If you cut this in the suggested 16 servings, you won't get Cheesecake Factory size slices. They'll be tiny, but it's very rich. If you're going to serve this for company, I suggest that 12 servings would be more reasonable. Add 2 more carbs per serving if using granular Splenda and 1 more per serving if using liquid Splenda.

Frankly, this is an expensive cheesecake and I like my Mom's Cheese Pie much better. It's creamier and doesn't cost as much to make. I wasn't wild about the nut crust either. Perhaps it should have been pre-baked to crisp up the nuts a bit and give them more flavor. Mine came out rather soggy. I like lemon zest in cheesecakes, but I don't care that much for lemon juice in them. It gave this a slightly sour taste. I also think this could use a bit more sweetener. However, if you're using granular Splenda, that would mean even more carbs. This is not my favorite kind of cheesecake. I prefer lighter, creamier cheesecakes. This isn't bad-tasting, just not the kind I like. Many others have raved about this recipe, so don't be put off by my opinion. Give it a try and see for yourself.

NOTE: I've made some adjustments to the ingredients and instructions after discussing some of my problems with Cheri. If I try this recipe again, I will post my new results.

UPDATE: Although I haven't tried her variation yet, Cheri has modified her recipe a little. Here are her changes:

"For a creamier cheesecake cut the eggs down to 3 instead of 5... Also I am removing the protein powder from the recipe because I have made it both ways and it really does not have an impact on the flavor or texture of the cheesecake."


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