My first foray into the world of caramel last week left me wanting more. Much more. So when I was asked to bring dessert to a dinner party, I knew I wanted to make something with caramel...
Now as you can possibly imagine by reading these posts, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about food. Normally ideas are pretty quick to form in my head; they will spring up unawares and I will be unable to stop thinking about something until I have made it (however impractical). For this dinner party however, I was drawing a blank for days. In the process I've filed away ideas and recipes for about a thousand caramel cookies, brownies, bars etc, but somehow I just couldn't fine a recipe for a dessert that I wanted to make and all I had was a recipe for caramel sauce that I couldn't let go of. By the time I left for lectures in the morning of the dinner I still didn't have a definite shopping list, things were pretty dire! So in the end, I dispensed with the whole idea of recipes and wandered the isles until I came up with all the ingredients for this beast...
I've made a fair few cheesecakes in my time, the basic idea is so simple but somehow a cheesecake is the perfect vessel for flavours, subtle or otherwise.
I used this recipe for salted caramel from "The Brown Eyed Baker", but minus the salt as I wanted this cheesecake all sweet. The recipe makes plenty more than you need, after the cheesecake was made, the bowl scooped out by hungry housemates, and rather obscene amounts stirred into tea for me and Bahaa (seriously, TRY IT), there was still a whole jar left over that's chilling in my fridge right now. Once it's set it is to die for...
This is not exactly a light dessert, I'll warn you of that right now. By the time dinner was finished last night we were all pretty much horizontal, but in a good, incredibly satisfied, don't need to eat again for a week, kind of way. For main Khemi made an incredible curry from a family recipe accompanied by perfect rice. I never make good rice, I'm going to have to get lessons!
To achieve caramelly perfection, I stirred caramel sauce into the cream cheese mixture itself, then marbled more caramel on top. Full recipe below!
Caramel Swirl Cheesecake, serves 10
thick caramel sauce, such as this one
250 g digestive biscuits
100 g butter, melted
250 g marscarpone
450 g soft cream cheese
50 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1/2 a teaspoon vanilla essence
To make the base, crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and stir in the melted butter until completely combined. Line a 24 cm springform tin with a circle of greaseproof paper and grease the sides of the tin. Press the biscuit mixture down in an even layer, use the base of a drinking glass to really compact the mixture.
Put the base in the fridge overnight, or in the freezer if you've only got a few hours.
To make the filling, beat the marscarpone and cream cheese until smoothly combined, then add the two sugars and vanilla. Stir in about 2/4 of a cup of caramel sauce, tasting as you go until it's perfect. If you want to add a lot of caramel at this stage, ease off the sugar a little.
Pour the filling onto the base, smooth into an even layer. Pour a thick swirl of caramel onto the top of the cheesecake, then use a skewer to marble the top.
Chill in the fridge for at least three hours, then enjoy :)
Now lets have a close up of that caramel, hey?