Friday, May 1, 2009

April's Daring Baker Challenge Continued: Cheesecake!

Coffee caramel cheesecake. Desserts don't get much better than this! Let's start with the crust, I used chocolate cookie crumbs instead of graham crackers and put about a 1/2 tsp. instant coffee grinds into the crust. I also used Kahlua instead of vanilla but ended up putting 1 T. in instead of a tsp. due to my inability to concentrate while a 15 month old is tugging on my pants. The result? The crust came out more like a cookie and leaked butter everywhere but ended up setting nicely. Next time, I will try less Kahlua and a little more instant coffee grinds for a nice punch of coffee flavor.

Now to the filling! Though it came out delicious, I really wanted more coffee flavor here. For this recipe, I stirred in 2 tsp. instant coffee into the whole cup of cream just until the crystals were all dissolved. Next time, I will try upping the amount of instant coffee used.

Anyways, here is the recipe!
Cafe au lait Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
2 cups / 180 g graham chocolate cookie crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. Kahlua
1 tsp. instant coffee grinds

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs 3 tsp. instant coffee grinds
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp Kahlua

caramel topping: 1 cup of sugar 6 Tbsp butter 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside. (I like mine just on the bottom.)

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. In a small saucepan, dissolve coffee grinds in the heavy cream over med low heat. Take off heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and Kahlua and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. (I always wrap springform pans in tinfoil due to the fact that they are not airtight)

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve. (Fully chilled is about 6-8 hours...takes FOREVER! Letting the cheesecake come to room temperate before you put it in the fridge stops condensation from building up in the cake. Condensation = soggy cake)

I found this recipe from Simply Recipes that gave a pretty good tutorial on caramel sauce. Follow the caramel sauce recipe and top when caramel has cooled but is still pliable.


Laura said...

YUM coffee caramel sounds delicious!

Anonymous said...

My nutty boss has a birthday coming up and this looks PERFECT for getting him all hopped up on sugar and coffee then asking for a raise!
Oh, and Si wants me to be sure to mention that he actually DID get asked to model by someone on his college was back in his drug addict/alcoholic days when he looked especially heroin chic.

But the funny part? they wanted him to model for photos that would be on the packaging of blank cassette tapes. How weird is that?