passover lemon cheesecake

Almonds and matzo cake meal make a wonderfully textured crust for this refreshing, citrusy cheesecake.

For crust
3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup matzo cake meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For filling
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment:a 9-inch springform pan
Garnish: julienned lemon zest

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in zest and vanilla.
Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust.
Bake until filling is set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan. Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

‘ note: Cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, loosely covered.