A beautiful spring day in Palm Beach NSW and lunch to celebrate the birthday of the Architect. As dessert maker for the day I wanted to create something special. My baked cheesecake, the subject of a previous blog post, plus salted caramel, combined very nicely in a luscious and velvety cheesecake with the piquancy of salted praline and caramel sauce.
230g sweet biscuits (half plain, half ginger nut)
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
Cream Cheese Filling
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 free-range eggs
1 carton (280ml) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar
Crush biscuits very finely in a food processor and add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and quickly stir in biscuit crumbs.
Press firmly into greased 22cm springform tin bringing mixture at least half way up the sides of the tin.
Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in the food processor and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whizzing after each addition.
Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
Beat together the topping ingredients and pour over hot cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Heat 1 cup of caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Be careful not to stir the sugar – tilt the saucepan to help melt the sugar. Cook for several minutes until the sugar turns a deep caramel tea colour and take off the heat. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt!
Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt flakes and pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of flaked almonds.
Leave to cool and harden. When completely cold, place the praline in a ziplock bag and bash into pieces with a mallet or rolling pin. Make sure you have small fragments, larger pieces, and some large shards for decoration.
Salted Caramel Sauce
75ml double cream
50g butter, cubed
½ tsp sea salt flakes
Put the sugar in a saucepan with 50ml water. Gently heat on low, swirling the pan but not stirring, until just melted. Simmer gently, swirling regularly, until the liquid is very dark golden caramel. Remove the saucepan from the heat then carefully and quickly whisk in the cream and butter. Be careful as the mixture will splutter. Keep whisking until smooth, then beat in the salt. Let cool. You can make the caramel in advance. Put in the refrigerator but bring back to room temperature before using.