1/3 c unblanched (skins on) whole almonds
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
20 ingots (0.7 oz. each) Omanhene dark milk chocolate, chopped
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 large eggs & 1 egg yolk
2/3 c sour cream
1-1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c orange liqueur
Grated zest of 2 large deep colored oranges
1 tsp pure vanilla
Butter the sides ONLY (using butter in addition to the 5 Tbsp) of an assembled 9 x 3-inch springform pan (mine is a wonderful non-stick, made by a company called "Kaiser"). Set aside.
In food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine almonds and sugar. Process only until almonds are very finely chopped. Turn into medium bowl; add graham crackers crumbs and mix well. Add melted butter; stir to mix thoroughly.
Turn crust into prepared pan. With fingers or back of spoon, use most of crust mixture to form a crust all the way up the pan sides. Compact remaining crust mixture firmly and evenly on bottom of pan. (Try not to have crust too thick where pan sides and bottom meet). Chill until needed.
Important: this cheesecake will drip while baking -- you'll want a tray under it. To make one, use about a 15 to 18-inch length of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold each side in several times; you want a "tray" about one foot square with standing sides about an inch high. The "tray" should fit on an oven rack with at least an inch or two of empty space on all sides to allow for air circulation. Set the "tray" aside.
Adjust one rack to center of oven and one rack to position below center. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In medium heat proof bowl, place chopped chocolate. Set over hot water on low heat; stir often until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; stir until smooth. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes, just until perfectly smooth. Scrape bowl and beaters frequently throughout mixing process. At a low speed, add eggs, one a t time, then yolk, beating until smooth after each addition. Still at low speed, add sour cream, then gradually add heavy cream, beating only until combined. All at once, add chocolate, which may be slightly warm. Again, beat only until mixed. Remove bowl from mixer.
With large spatula, gently stir in liqueur, orange zest, and vanilla, mixing only until blended. Batter should be smooth.
Turn into chilled crust. Gently twist pan from side to side to level batter (batter will not reach top of crust -- ok). With toothpick, prick any obvious air bubbles. Place foil "tray" on lower oven rack in pre-heated oven. Place cheesecake on center rack and close oven door.
Bake 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees F. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes longer, only until outer two inches or so of cheesecake appears "set". Remove to cooling rack. Cool at room temperature, away from drafts, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Gently loosen cheesecake from pan sides. Carefully release sides of springform pan. Chill cheesecake at least overnight before serving; wrap tightly when cold. Serve in small portions, accompanied, if you wish, by lightly sweetened whipped cream and/or sectioned oranges.