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Crème Fraîche Cheesecake with Freestone Peaches

Servings: 4 mini cheesecakes or 1 (9-inch) cheesecake
Sliced and fanned over the top of these creamy cheesecakes, sweet, aromatic freestone peaches add superb flavor and texture. If fresh peaches or nectarines are available, you may substitute them for the canned peaches. When preparing the sauce, combine 2 fresh peach halves with 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp. sugar along with the mint.

12 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. crème fraîche
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Peach Sauce and Fanned Peaches:
6 (canned) freestone peach halves, drained, reserving 1/4 cup liquid
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF/160ºC.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, crème fraîche and 1/2 cup sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, the melted butter and the 1/4 cup sugar and stir until blended. Divide the graham cracker mixture among 4 mini-springform pans (or 9-inch springform pan, if using).

4. With the back of a spoon, spread the graham cracker crumb mixture smoothly onto the bottom of the pan(s), then divide the filling among the pan(s).

If making the cheesecakes in the 4 individual springform pans, bake at 325º F/160ºC until the filling is set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

If making the cheesecake in one 9-inch springform pan, bake the cheesecake at 325ºF/160ºC for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Once coooled, refrigerate cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For The Fanned Peaches:
With the tip of a knife, cut slices about 1/4 inch apart into 4 of the peach halves, keeping the peach halves intact at one end. Arrange a peach half over each mini-cheesecake, fanning the peach decoratively over the top.

Note: If making the cheesecake in a 9-inch cheesecake pan, use 4 peach halves. Arranging the fanned peach halves over the top of the cake.

Peach Sauce:
In a blender, combine the remaining 2 peach halves, peach liquid and mint, and process into a fine puree. Serve the sauce alongside the cheesecake(s).

Makes 4 mini cheesecakes or 1 (9-inch) cheesecake.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
Date: December 10, 2002