Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

My daughter-in-law, Yulia, is pregnant and has some serious cravings. She didn’t ask for any expensive presents for her birthday. All she wanted was a birthday cheesecake—not just any cheesecake, but a caramel pecan cheesecake. Well, it sounded good, but none of my favorite recipe books had that recipe.

I never let a little thing like a recipe get in my way. I looked on the cream cheese carton and found a basic recipe for cheese cake, but it didn’t have a crust. Next I checked the cover of the graham cracker box. There it was.

I headed for the refrigerator hoping my final two ingredients would be there. The pecans, already chopped, were waiting in the crisper. Now if I could just find some caramel syrup. I looked up and down the door where the sauces and dressings were stored but no caramel syrup. Since I didn’t want to go shopping, I would just have to make my own. Why not? I’ve made plenty of sauces in my time. I found the perfect caramel sauce recipe in an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. If you can imagine it, you can make it. Let’s get started.

Graham cracker crust:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place 8 whole graham crackers in a large zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.Pour crumbs into a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and half a stick of melted butter. Stir until combined. Press onto the sides and bottom of a 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Place in preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave the oven heat on.

Cream cheese filling:
In a large bowl combine 2- 8oz. packages soft cream cheese until smooth. Add ½ cup sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 slightly beaten eggs,  Then combine ingredients until creamy. Pour into graham cracker crust and return the cheesecake to the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool completely.

Caramel sauce:
In a heavy saucepan, combine1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add ¼ cup of water, 1/3 cup milk, and 2 tablespoons corn syrup. Cook at medium temperature and stir until it comes to a boil. Lower temperature to simmer and continue to stir for 2 minutes until it begins to thicken. Remove from stove, and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Toast ½ cup chopped pecans, sprinkle on top of cooled cheese cake and drizzle with plenty of caramel sauce. Refrigerate leftovers—if there are any.

This scrumptious cake calmed the cravings of a pregnant woman and was half eaten before we could take a picture.

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