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Kevin's Kitchen

By KEVIN FRISCH

WELL, THIS IS the last column I'll be writing during the school year. I will be here over the summer, however, and (hopefully) will have lots of free time to spend happily in the kitchen. So, if you have a recipe that you are awed by, it would be great if you would send it to me. That way I could make it a couple of times over the summer and, if it's okay with you, perhaps put it in my column next year. Even if you don't have any recipe that you'd like to share with me, please tell me what sorts of things you'd like to see next year. Or, if you've tried one of my recipes, let me know how it turned out, or if there were any problems. I really do appreciate hearing from you, whatever you have to say.

So, with summer coming up, I figured something summery would be good. My first thought -- favorite homemade ice cream recipes -- quickly got abandoned when it occurred to me that most people don't have ice-cream makers lying around. So, after a few more fruitless thoughts, I was ready to give up the summer theme idea when someone suggested cheesecake. Well, if it was going to be cheesecake, it was going to be Amaretto cheesecake.

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Amaretto Cheesecake

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Crust:

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11/2 cups crushed-as-you-can-get-them

graham crackers

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons Amaretto

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Take the sliced almonds in your hand, and give them a good squeeze to make them into slightly smaller pieces, and add them to the crushed graham crackers. Next, add the Amaretto to the mixture and combine well, making sure everything gets nicely coated. Now mix the honey into the melted butter, and do the same as you did for the Amaretto. Immediately push the mixture into the sides and bottom of a 10-inch pie pan. You will probably find that you have a little crust left over -- but don't worry, it tastes great straight!

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Filling:

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1 lb. softened Philadelphia brand

cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup Amaretto

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Preheat oven to 375@#F.

Beat the eggs thoroughly with an egg beater until they are nice and foamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese and continue beating until all the lumps are out. Finally add the Amaretto and beat a little more. Now, dip your pinky in and taste it. There should be not as much Amaretto as you'd like -- the taste gets much stronger with cooking.

Cook in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is just barely starting to get off-white. Leave out for about two hours, and then refrigerate it for at least eight hours before serving.

If you don't like Amaretto, you can easily substitute in Kahlua. Of course, if you don't like alcohol at all, well, you're just bummed.

Good luck and good eating.

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Please write to kevinf@athena if you would like to see more recipes of a certain type in this column, or if you have any comments or suggestions. -- KF