nonna’s classic cheesecake with a walnut cookie crust
yield: 1 (9”) cheesecake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
½ cup brown sugar
2 sticks (½ lb) butter, cold + cubed
24 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the flour, chopped walnuts, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to “cut” in the butter, working it until the flour is absorbed and the mixture holds its shape when you press firmly.
Pack the mixture into the bottom of a 9” springform pan, pressing it about 1 ½” inches up the sides. Press firmly to create an even crust. Chill the crust while you make the batter.
Add the softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and combine. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla. Mix again until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the crust. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the center is set and the top is golden brown. Allow the cheesecake to cool for about 45 minutes at room temperature. Transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours until completely cold.
Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and cut into slices. Serve with any topping you’d like (fresh fruit, a cooked & cooled fruit topping, honey, etc.).