Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Baked Caramel Cheesecake

I've always found cheesecake to be a bit of a botheration, but I kid you not, this one is about as elementary as it gets. You may label it as a 'cheats cheesecake' and I will not contest the fact, as the rich caramel flavour comes from one of those inexpensive tins you will find next to the condensed milk in the supermarket. However the result is nothing other than luxurious, indulgent and of course utterly delicious. 

A couple of points worth considering before we begin. You can use a split vanilla pod instead of extract if you prefer, although I personally think it leaves the finished texture a little grainy. You also have carte blanche when it comes to the biscuits. I love a classic digestive, but chocolate chip cookies, ginger nuts, even hobnobs are worth a go. You could even sprinkle a little sea salt on top, if you wanted to be REALLY cheeky!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 40-45 Mins (Plus 10 Mins for the base)
200g Digestive Biscuits
125g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
600g Full Fat Soft Cheese (Such as Philadelphia)
397g Tinned Caramel (Such as Carnation)
1 Large Egg and 2 Yolks
1tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5, lightly grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. In a large bowl, pulverise the biscuits finely, then pour in the melted butter and mix to combine. Tip into your prepared tin, press out evenly to the edges and bake in the centre of the oven for ten minutes, before leaving to one side to cool.

Preheat the oven again to 190C/375F/Gas 5. When the base has cooled you can prepare the filling (or should that be topping?). In a clean bowl mix the cheese until creamy, then add the caramel and whisk, getting right down to the bottom of the bowl as you go. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, then whisk again until smooth and silky. Pour on top of the cooled base and bake in the centre of the oven for around 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges are just starting to darken. When you are happy the cheesecake is baked remove it from the oven, leave in the tin until cooled to room temperature, then (still in the tin) place in a container in the fridge for at least a few hours (ideally overnight) to set.

When the cheesecake has chilled very carefully remove it from the tin, peeling the paper from the edges. It's then all yours to serve to friends, family, or just to gobble up shamelessly on your own!

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