The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
After I had delivered lead sous chef about 3 and 1/2 years ago and the "oh, look at the new baby" excitement had worn off the new grandparents, my father and step-mother headed out to get something to eat. They returned with probably the best cheesecake that I had ever eaten from The Cheesecake Factory. Okay, maybe it was because I had just pushed out an 8 and 1/2 pound baby girl and was (no lie) ravenous for something to eat. But, let's just say that every piece of cheesecake that I have had since then always pales in comparison.
Jenny, thank you so much for such an awesome choice! We were given a lot of liberties this month in our baking. I really enjoyed the flexibility and had a ton of ideas. I actually should have used the strawberries sitting in the fridge, but I just couldn't do it. I wanted to try to recreate a turtle cheesecake.
For my cheesecake, I kept with the recipe, but added a layer of melted chocolate (about a cup of dark chocolate morsels) mixed with the cheesecake batter. After it had baked and cooled, I topped it with caramel sauce. The results were outstanding, and I will definitely make this again.
For the caramel sauce:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Melt the brown sugar and butter together in a medium saucepan. Once melted, carefully add the whipping cream and vanilla. Let cook until thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.
A couple of things to note:
You need to bake the cheesecake for almost an hour, let it sit in the oven for an hour, then let it cool in the fridge (overnight would be best). SO, that said it isn't exactly a quick dish. However, using the water bath and letting it finish off cooking while the oven cools is so worth it.
Unless you know for SURE that your pan is water-tight, wrapping it in foil is an important step. I missed a little and I think a little water seeped in, but it didn't do too much damage. Chilling it kept from it having any kind of sogginess, I think.
For mine, since there was a layer of chocolate, it is important to let it sit out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. That way the chocolate isn't just a solid layer.
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