Recently, I read somewhere that 2008 was a big year for salted caramel. I don’t think I’m in any position to agree or disagree with that, but I will say that I had a little love affair with it myself. (Hello, salted caramel hot chocolate!)
This cheesecake is a prime example of salted caramel at its finest. I actually found the recipe while looking for something else. Of course, once I found this I was immediately so smitten that whatever I was looking for was quickly forgotten.
I’m not a big fan of candy-making, and that includes making caramel. It’s all too temperamental for me, and I’m much too temperamental for it. Luckily, I can usually talk Quinn into doing these kinds of things. So, he was responsible for that portion while I made the cheesecake.
On its own, there is nothing exceptional about the cheesecake. The difference is the caramel. The salt portion is sprinkled on top, so you can use as little or as much as you like. Keep in mind whether or not the pecans are salted when adding the sea salt. I used unsalted, so I added a little extra salt for our tastes.
- 1 & 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 large pinch sea salt
To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
To make the filling:
Mix cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light, airy, and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until blended.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the center of the cheesecake is just set. Turn off the oven, leave door slightly ajar, and let cheesecake cool completely.
To make the caramel:
Stir together sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil until amber in color, about 3 minutes. Immediately stir in butter. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Pour caramel over cooled cheesecake. Sprinkle with pecans and sea salt.
Recipe adapted from Chow.