Monday, November 26, 2012

Caramel cheesecake

 For the cheesecake 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter butter, melted
4 pkg, (8 oz each) Cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tbsp salted pistachio, lightly crushed for garnishing

For the caramel sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1.2 cup water
heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt

HEAT oven to 325F. (300F for darker pans)
MIX graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of12-inch spring form pan. I  have used a tart pan with fluted sides.
BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
BAKE 55 min. or until center is almost set.  Resist the urge to open the oven door as the cheesecake will crack on the top. It will not effect the taste and will easily be covered with caramel sauce, whipped cream, fruits ot melted chocolate. Cool half hour and loosen the sides gently with a butter knife before removing rim. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Caramel sauce

Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan in a heap. Do not spread. Pour the water in the centre and let the sugar mixture come to a boil on high heat. Do not swirl, stir or meddle with during the process to avoid sugar crystal lumps in the final product. The boiling sugar syrup turns clear to amber real quick. As the edges of the bubbling syrup gets darker, you may swirl to even out the caramelising. (Lighter the caramelized sugar, lighter the sauce).

 As soon as you achieve the shade of caramel, set the saucepan aside away from heat. Pour in the heavy cream. The syrup will bubble up dramatically, wait for the sizzle to subside.  Add in the vanilla extract and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and bring it back to heat on medium heat. The sauce can be reduced to thicker consistency on simmer. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

 Remove the cheesecake from the refigerator. Pour 3 tbsp of caremel sauce and spread it leaving an inch away from the edges. Garnish with crushed pistachios. Chill for 4 hrs.