Top with your favourite ingredients to provide guests with a variety of tastes and colours. Some suggestions are given below.
250 ml (1 cup) graham cracker crumbs
50 ml (1/4 cup) butter, melted
5 ml (1 tsp) each sugar and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pkgs (250-g/8-oz size) cream cheese, room temperature (312 g/10 oz total)
30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
20 ml (4 tsp) sour cream
2 ml (1/2 tsp) lemon juice
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) freshly ground pepper
175 ml (3/4 cup) walnuts, finely chopped
50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped chives
Heat oven to 150 C (300 F). Line a 23-cm (9-inch) pan with foil, letting it hang over the edge for easy removal of cheesecake.
Crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and pepper. Press into pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Filling: Using a food processor, blend cream cheese, sugar, whole egg, egg yolk, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until all ingredients are fully incorporated and batter is free of lumps, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl and stir in walnuts and chives.
Pour into pan and spread evenly over crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until centre is firm. Do not over-bake. Let cool completely in pan, cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
Remove cheesecake from pan. With a warm, dry knife, trim off edges. Cut remaining cheesecake into 2.5-cm (1-inch) or 4-cm (1 1/2-inch) squares, wiping the knife after each cut. Top as desired and serve.
Makes 15 to 20 servings.
Nutrition information per 2.5-cm (1-inch) serving: 137 calories; 3 g protein; 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat); 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g fibre; 43 mg cholesterol; 166 mg sodium.
Topping suggestions: Smoked salmon with a sprig of fresh dill; pear with caramelized onions; caviar and sour cream; prosciutto-wrapped fig; black olive tapenade.
Source: California Walnuts, walnutinfo.com.