A rich caramel cheesecake with pecans and a homemade salted caramel sauce.
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
- 32 ounces (4 8-ounce packages) full fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup caramel topping (recipe listed below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract (or sub vanilla)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
For the caramel topping
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
- 1–2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (optional)
For the toppings
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Prepare the required caramel sauce prior to making the cheesecake and allow proper time to cool.
- For the caramel topping: Place the sugar and water in a 3-quart saucepan with high sides. Pick up the pan and rotate it to get the water into all the sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the mixture at all.
- The mixture will begin to bubble. Let the sugar mixture cook for 8-10 minutes more. Again, do not stir the mixture at all while its bubbling.
- The color of the mixture will turn from clear to light amber to golden amber to slightly darker amber. Do not let it get too dark. Make sure you stand there and carefully watch the hot sugar mixture because it can burn very quickly.
- Remove the pan from the heat when the mixture turns darker amber and whisk in the butter very slowly. Once the butter is mixed in, VERY slowly add the cream while whisking constantly. Note the hot sugar will bubble very fiercely when you add the cream but just keep whisking.
- Return the pan to the heat and let the caramel boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan fro the heat and stir in the salt for salted caramel if desired. Cool the mixture completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the very bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water.. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- For the crust: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- For the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth.
- Pour in the cream, caramel topping, extracts and flour. Beat until everything is incorporated completely.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Make sure the eggs are fully incorporated, but do not over beat the batter.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the prepared crust. Place the pan on the oven rack right above the tray of water. Bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool for five minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan.
- Let the cheesecake cool for one hour then refrigerate it for 4 to 6 hours or until completely chilled.
- Detach the springform pan ring and remove the cheesecake from the pan. Slide it onto the serving plate.
- For the topping: Spread the caramel topping on the cheesecake right before serving. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the caramel.
- Prepare a batch of whipped cream: Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill. Pour 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until the cream starts to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe along the edges of the cheesecake.
- If you refrigerate the cheesecake with the caramel dip on top, the caramel will harden. Run a sharp knife under very hot water. Dry it off and very slowly cut through the caramel so that you do not crush the soft cheesecake. The hot knife will melt the caramel as you cut through.
- Prepare the required caramel sauce prior to making the cheesecake and allow proper time to cool. There are two types of caramel sauce for this recipe. These can be either homemade or store brought. The caramel sauce for the cheesecake filling should be thin like an ice cream topping. The caramel sauce for the topping should be thick like a caramel dip for apples.
- To store the caramel dip: Let the caramel mixture cool before spooning into a jar. Store the caramel in the refrigerator for up to one month. You may need to warm it up slightly in the microwave or allow it to come to room temperature before using.
- Recipe reprinted with permissions from St. Martin’s Press Cheesecake Love
- Category: Cheesecake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Caramel Cheesecake, Cheesecake Recipe