Monday, December 29, 2014

Turtle Cheesecake

I served this cheesecake on Christmas and it was quite the hit. It starts with a chocolate crust, then a creamy cheesecake filling and topped with a caramel sauce and ganache drizzle. It is a decadent dessert, perfect for entertaining, but is super easy to make! Using a springform pan will make your cheesecake easy to cook and serve. 


If you are short on time, or prefer not to make the caramel or ganache, sundae caramel sauce and hot fudge will do the trick as well! I had extra of both sauce, but use as liberally as you feel necessary! 


Turtle cheesecake



1 cup chopped pecans



1.5 sleeves of chocolate graham crackers

6 Tbsp butter, melted



4 packages of cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract



8 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used chips)

1/2 cup heavy cream 


Caramel sauce:

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 Tbsp butter 

1 Tbsp vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 4-5 minutes, until aromatic
2. Break chocolate graham crackers into small pieces and toss in food processor (1 package at a time). Pulse until they are small, uniform crumbs
3. In a large bowl, add the melted butter to the graham crumbs and mix well. 
4. Pat mixture into the bottom of a 9-10” springform pan and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove crust from oven and decrease heat to 325 degrees
5. Meanwhile, in a large pan, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, add the sugar and continue to beat. 
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, mix in the vanilla extract.
7. Sprinkle ½ cup of the toasted pecans on top of the pre-baked crust and drizzle caramel over the nuts. 
8. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust and bake for 55 minutes at 325degrees. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then release spring in pan to continue cooling. 
9. For the ganache: It can be done on the stove or microwave. For the stove you need to make a double boiler (with a heat resistant bowl over a boiling saucepan of water) and combine the cream and chocolate and mix well. For the microwave: Place heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 2 minutes, add choc chips and stir until combined.
10. For the caramel sauce: Mix the sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, whisking regularly. Add the vanilla, cook an additional minute. 
11. To decorate: Allow both sauces to slightly cool and pour into pastry bags or sandwich bags with the corner snipped off (about ½” from the corner).  Drizzle sauces over the top of the cheesecake and sprinkle remaining pecans on top. 
12. Chill in the refrigerator, covered for at least 4 hours. 



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