Chocolate Cheesecake

Crust:
8 oz. chocolate wafers
3 oz. (3/4 stick) sweet butter

Adjust rack one-third up from bottom of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate the bottom from the sides of a 9×3-inch springform pan; butter the sides only, and then replace the bottom in the pan and set aside.

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Crumble the cookies coarsely and place them in a food processor or blender to make fine crumbs; you should have 2 cups of crumbs. Place in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the crumbs until thoroughly mixed.

Pour about 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared pan.

To form a thin layer of crumbs on the sides of the pan, tilt the pan at about a 45-degree angle and, with your fingertips, press a layer of the crumbs against the sides. Press from the bottom up toward the top of the pan and leave a rim of uncrumbed pan about 3/4 of an inch deep around the top. Rotate pan gradually as you press on the crumbs. Then turn the pan upright on its bottom, pour in the remaining crumbs and, with your fingertips, distribute them evenly around the bottom of the pan. Press them firmly to make a compact layer.

Filling:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate (2 cups morsels or 12 squares, coarsely chopped)
24 oz. (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs (graded large or extra large)
1 cup sour cream

Place the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on low heat. Cover until partially melted, then uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the hot water and set aside to cool slightly.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese until it is very smooth. Add the vanilla, salt and sugar and beat well, scraping the sides with a rubber satula, until very smooth. Add the chocolate and beat to mix. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl with the spatula and beating until thoroughly blended after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.

Pour the filling into the crumb crust (it will not quite reach the top of the crumbs) and rotate the pan briskly first in one direction, then in the other, to smooth the top. (It might be necessary to use a spatula to smooth the top.)

Bake for 1 hour. It will still seem quite soft. Let stand on a rack until completely cool. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Run a knife around the sides of the pan before removing them. Once you remove the sides, use a firm metal spatula and ease it around the bottom of the cake to release it. Serve cake cold.

Chocolate Cheesecake

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