caramel cheesecake

May 14, 2013


Cheesecake is one of those great year-round desserts {thank goodness cream cheese is always in season!}, but I especially love it when the weather starts to warm up a bit. I thought this would be the perfect dessert to bring over to my parents house for Sunday dinner, but I knew it would be a bit of a challenge since there’s lots of cooking, cooling and refrigerating time. I planned it out as best I could but was still cutting it close. Note to self: make cheesecake the day ahead!
Caramel Cheesecake inspired by Ina Garten and Cooking Classy
for the crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
for the filling
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature 
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
for the caramel sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp salted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Maldon or coarse sea salt, for sprinking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the graham crackers, sugar and melted butter in a bowl until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch sprinform pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
Raise the over temperature to 450 degrees F.
Cream the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrap down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the pan. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. 
In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat the sugar and water over moderately high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once the mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, swirling pan occasionally  Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter is melted then remove from heat. Wait a few seconds then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine. Whisky until mixture is smooth. Allow caramel to cool several minutes then pour int oa glass jar to cool. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt after spooning caramel over cheesecake. 
I have a major obsession with caramel {if there’s any talk of needing it/wanting it, I’ve already made it!}, so this cheesecake is especially delicious! The best part about this recipe is that there will be some caramel sauce left over for ice cream nights. With the weather as hot as it’s been {even by the beach}, ice cream nights are a necessity!