Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cheesecake With Two Sauces

For our 12th-annual New Year's Eve party, I made this cheesecake, but instead of garnishing it with fruit, I made a chocolate sauce and a caramel sauce for drizzling.

Simple Cheesecake
I use salted butter in everything, even recipes that call for unsalted, and have never been unhappy with the results. However in this recipe, it is necessary to use unsalted butter in the crust because it calls for a lot of additional salt. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper (this will help you remove it for cutting), and spray the paper with cooking spray.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs

1. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until a soft dough forms. Spread dough into a prepared sheet pan; use a piece of plastic wrap to help you spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Chill dough in pan 20 minutes.
2. Bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
3. Beat cream cheese and granulated sugar until blended, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in lemon zest, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended after each addition.
4. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust.
5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut cheesecake into squares.

Caramel Sauce
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
2 Tbsp. butter
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan; gradually stir in cold water until mixture resembles wet sand (it may not require the entire amount of water). Cook on high heat, without stirring to avoid crystallization, until the syrup begans to color. Tilt the pan to swirl to distribute the color. Continue cooking until the syrup turn a caramel color and smells like burnt sugar. (This will take about 15 minutes, but you need to keep an eye on it.)
2. Very carefully, stir in butter (mixture will bubble, foam, and expand; it is very hot). Then very carefully stir in pinch of salt and cream. Stir until bubbles disappear. Cool completely.

Chocolate-Orange Sauce
6.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 plus 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. orange liqueur

1. Combine chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stir in orange liqueur.

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