Monday, November 17, 2014

Salted Caramel Dessert

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To me, caramel and Thanksgiving go hand in hand.

You will too after you try this deconstructed cheesecake!





I will be honest.  The Thanksgiving menu in my house is quite a big deal.  I spend a decent amount of  time trying figure out what I'll be serving on that special day.  Unless I cancel it.

HUH? Yea, sometimes I cancel the traditional dinner and do something a lot easier.  For different reasons… BP (the husband) wants to play golf and can't help me much, we go out of town for the weekend and I don't want leftovers or well, let's face it - it's a lot of work during a busy time of year.  I pick and choose my moments!

But enough about me… back to you.  If you're serving a big, traditional spread this year - this dessert is your moment.  The perfect exclamation point to a dynamic dinner!  Presenting...

Salted Caramel Cheesecake
As always, not too hard to make (there is a tricky part with the caramel) and the pay off is huge.  The other reason I love this dessert is that you can make it a day ahead of time… so it frees you up to do the other dishes on Thanksgiving day.  For the record, that's the case with a lot of ramekin desserts, which is why I do them often.

Here's what you'll need:

Cheesecake
8 ounces of cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Caramel
12 tblspns light corn syrup
1 cup plus 4 tblspns sugar
6 tblspns unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tspn salt 
coarse salt (or just use regular)

Here's what you do:
Heat oven to 325.  In a large bowl, beat cc and sugar until smooth.  Then add eggs, followed by sour cream.  Pour into 6 small ramekins.  Place the ramekins into a pan and pour water into the pan so that it comes up to the halfway mark on the ramekin.  


Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are firm and the center is still jiggly.  Turn off the oven and leave in for 1 hour.  Once out transfer to a rack to cool completely

While those are baking you have to make a decision, do you make the caramel or do you buy it in the store and pretend you did?  I say the answer is up to you.  Though I will also say the recipe that follows is great.  But a tad tricky.  Be careful, as good caramel can go to burnt caramel in seconds.  In a medium sauce pan heat the corn syrup.  Stir in the sugar and cook over medium heat.  Keep stirring.  A dark amber color will start to emerge.  This is the dicey part… too long and it will burn.


Take it off the heat and stir in the butter, followed by the cream. 


Transfer the caramel to a heatproof bowl and let cool.  Stir in 1 tspn of salt.  

Once cooler, pour the caramel on top of the cheesecakes.  You should have lots leftover to sprinkle on the plate the ramekin will sit on to make it look more festive (or save it for ice cream later that weekend).  Clearly I didn't sprinkle for that for the picture below but I should have…  

Anyways, refrigerate the cheesecakes at least 3 hours before serving.  I actually made these the day before and just placed some saran wrap over the top.  Sprinkle with coarse salt just before presenting.  If you don't have the coarse salt, any will work but it's better if it's coarse. 


Also, since there's no crust in this dish I would add a small graham cracker or 2 on that plate with that drizzled caramel.  Therefore, it sort of becomes a "deconstructed cheesecake" if you will.

  
Mmmmmm yum.  Guests will love it.  So will you!  Goes so well with a traditional turkey spread.  Here's to a Happy, caramel-y Thanksgiving dinner and dessert.  That is, if you don't cancel it.   Heeee heeee.