Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turtle Cheesecake

People LOVE cheesecake. It is irresistible. On it's own, its good enough. Add caramel and chocolate (okay pecans too..) and you have a reason to ditch the points. Most people think cheesecake is hard to accomplish. It will crack, it will fall, it will stick. Poohey, I say. It is easy to make a perfect cheesecake. Just take it slowly. Make sure ALL your ingredients are room temperature. Let the cream cheese sit out overnight, the eggs, sour cream and heavy cream at least two hours. When you get ready to mix the filling - never - ever - ever - let the mixer go past the lowest speed. Cheesecakes crack because the air in the filling heats, rises and pushes up the top of the cheesecake. Then those same air bubbles pop and your cheesecake falls - and cracks! If you mix the ingredients slowly you will not incorporate air in the filling - no air, no quick rise, no crack. Forget the water bath. Just take it slowly. Now preheat your oven to 350' and lets get started.

2c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4c. granulated white sugar
1 stick melted butter
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
1c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. chopped pecans

Stir the crumbs, sugar and butter together until thoroughly mixed. Spray an 8" springform pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with the crumbs, then work them up the sides. I use a water glass to press the bottom down, and run it around the inside of the pan forcing the crumbs up the sides. Pour on the caramel topping, sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips Freeze crust while you prepare the filling.

32 oz. softened cream cheese (four 8oz. pkgs.)
1 c. granulated white sugar
1t. vanilla
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
5 lg. eggs
3 tblsp. all purpose flour

In your stand mixer add the cream cheese and sugar. Beat on low, about 3-5 minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until all traces of yolk is gone. Add in the heavy cream. More mixing - still on low speed. Finally sprinkle the flour over the filling with the mixer running and combine until the filling is smooth and satiny. Lovely.

Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the filling. Place on a cookie sheet in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 250' and continue to bake for an additional 2 1/2 hours. It is done when the center is set - not wobbly. Open the oven door and leave the cheesecake in there until it is cool enough to remove without oven mitts. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Take the cooled cheesecake out of the refrigerator and pop the latch. Push the cake through the ring. Gently use a spatula to remove the bottom and place on a plate. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes before cutting. Top with chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache
2c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1c. heavy cream
Pour the cream over the chips and melt in the microwave for 3 minutes. Let sit a few minutes, whisk until smooth and top the cheesecake.

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