Monday, August 19, 2013
Do you know anyone who doesn't like cheesecake? Even those without a sweet tooth or those with a great amount of will power cannot resist the delicious combination of creamy cheesecake, caramel, nuts and chocolate. (I have witnessed this firsthand!)
This cheesecake is perfection. It is different from other cheesecakes in that it does not have your normal graham cracker crust. You only place a dusting of graham cracker crumbs in the pan before adding the cheesecake filling. This way the crust doesn't overpower the filling and you are left to enjoy the best part - and it takes away the extra step of mixing the crust and pre-baking it. I really do prefer it this way. No graham crackers in the house? You can substitute any cookie crumbs you might have on hand - I used crushed Belvita biscuits and it worked perfectly. You could even use plain dried bread crumbs in a pinch.
from Diner Desserts by Tish Boyle
Note: For the photo above, I sliced the cheesecake and then drizzled the toppings for serving. I recommend adding the pecans, but since my daughter has a nut allergy, I did not use them on the cake in the photo. Cheesecakes freeze quite well, making them great for entertaining. Leave the cake in the springform pan and wrap with plastic and then with foil and freeze. Thaw a day or two ahead in the refrigerator and add toppings the day of serving.
1/3 cup graham cracker or cookie crumbs (I used crushed Belvita biscuits)
1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
1/2 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Dust the pan with the cracker crumbs.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and the sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and mix until combined. Add the sour cream and mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until blended.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake an additional 60-70 minutes , or just until the center no longer looks wet. Turn the oven off without opening the door and leave the cake in the closed oven for an additional hour. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours before making the toppings.
Remove the sides of the springform pan from the cheesecake. Using a small offset spatula, spread the caramel topping over the top of the cake. You may have some topping leftover. Sprinkle the nuts on top, if using, then drizzle with chocolate. Refrigerate one hour before serving.
Measure out the heavy cream and have it ready near the stove. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes, or until it turns dark amber. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble). Return the pan to medium heat and stir just until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until completely melted. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the topping to a medium bowl and refrigerate 1 hour, or until spreadable.
Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream until smooth. Allow to cool until it is just warm. Transfer the chocolate to a plastic resealable bag and cut a small hole in one corner and use it to pipe the drizzle onto the cheesecake.