Friday, November 15, 2013

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

A riddle: what kind of dessert do you make someone (aka, your husband) who doesn’t particularly eat dessert?  Answer: who cares?  He won’t eat it anyways so I chose something that I would eat. 

Whom do I call?  My friend, Susan.  She had served this dessert at a dinner party a few years back and it was that memorable.  Funny part is that when she sent me the recipe, she called it pecan praline cheesecake however there were no pecans on the ingredients list.  May have been an oversight but it probably would be great with some toasted pecans on top too.

Happy Birthday (yesterday) David!! (because some of us didn’t plan enough in advance to have the cake chilled and set on his actual day)

Salted Caramel Cheesecake
1.      6oz chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate graham crackers (about 2 1/4 cup crumbs)
2.      Pinch of kosher salt
3.      1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1.      3 packages cream cheese or neufchatel (8 oz each), room temp
2.      1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3.      1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4.      1/2 cup granulated sugar
5.      1/4 t salt
6.      3 eggs
7.      1/2 cup heavy cream
8.      1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
9.      1 t vanilla extract

1.      4 T unsalted butter, softened
2.      2 T granulated sugar
3.      2 T light brown sugar
4.      1/3 cup dark brown sugar
5.      1/2 cup heavy cream
6.      1/4 t pure vanilla extract
7.      1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch springform pan and wrap entire outside with foil.

Process chocolate wafers/graham crackers in food processor. Add salt. Drizzle in melted butter while running. Press crumbs into bottom and up sides (slightly) of 9-inch springform pan. Bake crust at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, butter, both sugars, and salt until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, fully beating to incorporate into batter after each addition. Add bourbon (optional) and vanilla. Lightly whip heavy cream and fold into mixture.

Pour filling over completely cooled crust. Transfer cheesecake to a roasting pan and place in the oven. Add enough boiling/hot water to reach 1/3 way up sides of foil-wrapped springform pan. Bake about 1 hour until sides are set but center still jiggles. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake inside for 1 hour with oven door closed. Remove cheesecake from oven. Cool to room temp. Cover and chill 3-24 hours. Remove 30 minutes before serving.

Drizzle caramel over cake and then sprinkle some sea salt on top.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter with all three sugars and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream and boil for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the caramel sauce to a pitcher. Stir in the vanilla and salt and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.  The caramel can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Warm and whisk to combine before serving.

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