April 24, 2013
Recipe of the Week: Pretzel Cheesecake
Cheesecake was my favorite cake growing up. My sister Amanda, lover of salty things, would eat the crust, and I would eat the filling. My aunt Pam's cheesecake is legendary in our family, and to make Amanda happy she added a one-inch crust to hers. That combination of salty, sweet, and decadently creamy is still a must for me, and in a really over-the-top moment, I decided adding pretzels to the whole thing was an excellent idea. This recipe is so delicious it's almost silly. x CT -
1. To make crumbs, pulse the pretzels in the food processor until fine. Remove, and pulse the graham crackers. Combine the crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter in the food processor until the mixture is one even texture. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and sides.
2. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, whip cream cheese until fluffy; beat in sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Next add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in heavy cream. After the mixture is combined, if it's at all lumpy, strain through a sieve. This is to prevent pockets of butter or cream cheese in the cake, which would give it an inconsistent texture.
3. Pour into the pan. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour.
4. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven 1 hour more. Remove from oven and let the cake cool gradually to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
5. When ready to serve, combine salted caramel sauce and sour cream, and spread on top of cheesecake. Garnish with pretzels.
Salted Caramel Sauce (Yields: 2 cups)
1 cup white sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar turns golden. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved and just starting to turn a lovely amber color.
2. Turn heat to low, add the butter, and stir to combine. Be careful here, as the mixture will foam up. Next add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and the salt, stirring to combine. Cook the sauce for about 5-10 minutes, until it comes together. Note: it'll take quite a bit of stirring!
3. Pour the caramel into a glass jar, let it come to room temperature, and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Pour over everything and anything!
Photograph: Claire Thomas
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