I dedicate this one to you Kamilah. Thanks for the inspiration.
My sweet friend Kamilah asked for cheesecake lessons and I happily obliged. I will use any excuse to make cheesecake. When I asked her which one she wanted to make she said Turtle Cheesecake. Well I have never made one and didn’t have a recipe.
We all know my aversion to candy bars in my cheesecake. I want cheesecake to taste like a cheesecake, not a candy bar, or ice cream toppings. If I want any of those desserts I will pop out to the store or the ice cream shop to get them. But please don’t put them on my cheesecake.
My search of the internet was met with disappointment. My opinions on cheesecake seem to be confined to only a few. I have spoken to those of you who agree with me. I know you are out there you just apparently don’t post recipes on the internet.
After I regrouped I decided to begin with the same crust as the Caramel Pecan Cheesecake a few weeks ago. The chopped pecans in the bottom are a revelation. I love those wonderful bits of yumminess. I did add a teaspoon of vanilla to enhance the flavor of the cookies on the second go around. They needed something.
The new and fun ingredient is the caramel that I decided to use. This I cannot take credit for because it came from my husband’s grandmother. I have no idea where she learned it but it is a fantastic short cut. What she used it in is a sore spot between my husband and I which pretty much started me down the road of difficult desserts. Totally different blog post.
Where was I?
Oh yea! This.
Boil one can of sweetened condensed milk, the brand does not matter. (You can do 4 or 5 at once with paper off please) Boil steadily, submerged (water over the top) for 4 to 5 hours. Do not put more cans than can be comfortably surrounded by water. This will change the boiling time. Check the pot every 1/2 hour to make sure the water is still above the tops of the cans. When it drops below then pour in more water. After 4 or 5 hours (not an exact number here folks) turn off the heat and let the pot sit there. Really don’t touch it. Don’t get excited and try to open the can. It will explode hot caramel stuff all over and potentially burn you. LEAVE IT ALONE! Got it?
Okay, after the cans cooled to room temperature dry them off and set them aside. Because they have been boiled and remain sealed in the can they can go back in your pantry for months. I don’t want to say years because I am not sure but I have had some for over a year and my mom has too.
(Please keep in mind that this actually takes an entire day just to get the caramel stuff ready. As I often repeat to myself late late late late at night waiting for one to cool – Cheesecake is NOT a last minute dessert.)
Anyway, it comes out all gooey, thick, and caramelized. It is quite rich and not too sweet so perfect for me.
Next, take small dollops and place evenly and carefully on the bottom of the crust. This is difficult because it is sticky and doesn’t want to come off your spatula. It also wants to stick to the crust. This clingy co-dependent attitude from the yummy goo only serves to rip your beautiful crust apart. I prefer not to enable so small dollops pushed off with another spoon evenly spread about. Then short one directional (no back and forth) strokes with an offset spatula to smooth it out a bit. It takes some patience but it will spread. Trust me. Reserve a 2 tablespoons for the batter.
(I will say that I think it needs a little more caramel. I am going to add 2 cans to the next cheesecake. First to thicken the bottom layer and second to enrich the caramel flavor in the cheesecake. Still it is not too sweet, rich but not sweet.)
The batter comes together just like the New York Cheesecake. It is the Junior’s Cheesecake Recipe, not mine. But it is quite basic and useful.
4 blocks of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (full fat, room temperature)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 2/3 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons of caramel (See recipe above)
Mix together for at least 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, 1 block of cream cheese, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup of sugar. After it is thoroughly mixed beginning adding remaining cream cheese one block at a time, scraping down the sides after each block. (The scraping is very important, don’t skip this please)
Next add the remaining sugar, slowly, with more scraping. Then add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, scraping after each one.
Finally add the heavy cream. Do not over mix, just stir in until combined.
This next bit is mine:
Now divide the batter in half into two bowls. Add the remaining caramel to one half, stir until combined. There will still be a few chunks which is fine, you just want a little caramel flavor.
Melt the chocolate using a double boiler (glass bowl over gently boiling water on stove top). Let cool a few minutes. Then combine with batter in second bowl.
You can also use the microwave to melt the chocolate. 1 minute on high. I like the shake the bowl so I am not actually stirring the chocolate to test for meltiness. Add 30 seconds until melted, removing after each to see if it is melted. It rarely takes more than 2 minutes.
Now spoon chocolate batter into the crust, smooth with an offset spatula. Then gently spoon the caramel batter on top of the chocolate layer and smooth.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Convection ovens do change how it will bake. If you can turn that off then please do.
When the time is up simply remove the cheesecake and let it sit on the countertop. Do not touch it or try to check if it is done. Remove it from the water bath/foil and just walk away. Once it is cooled to room temperature move it to the refrigerator. It is still in the springform pan at this point. Do not take that off. Let it cool for at least 6 hours or better still overnight.
After that gently remove the springform sides by gently running a knife around the outside and unlatching it. Then remove carefully.
Now you can pull it out for the decorating. This is not necessary but it does look good.
Melt bittersweet chocolate, about 5 ounces (microwave or double boiler, your choice), and put into pastry bag with a narrow tip. It doesn’t matter the shape because the melted chocolate will not hold a shape. It is melted. It just needs to be narrow. Now quickly, and I mean quickly, make lines about a 1/2 inch apart. Go back and forth, making your turns while your tip is off the cheesecake. I do this on a sheet pan and then transfer the finished product to the cake plate or box for transport later. This way the mess is on the pan, not the cheesecake. Now go perpendicular to the lines you just made.
Really, I loved how this turned out. I will add more caramel because it can take it without being too much. I also want some more flavor out of that crust. I know it has more to offer. But overall a great cheesecake and it does look amazing.
It also does not taste like a candy bar.
We Are That Family