Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Last week, my husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. As any married person knows, the key to a happy marriage is about compromise. I chose this recipe as something of a compromise and let me tell you, if every compromise turned out this sweet, every marriage would last forever. See, Jeff's favorite dessert is cheesecake. I, on the other hand, don't really like cheesecake. But I wanted to make him something special; I remembered tearing this recipe from Bon Appetit a few months ago so I dug it out and gave it a whirl. I may not like cheesecake, but I LOVE dulce de leche. So dulce de leche cheesecake squares sounded like the perfect pairing of both of our likes.
To say this recipe is the perfect union would be an understatement. These are just plain delicious. Rich and creamy, the dulce de leche flavored cheese takes ordinary cheesecake to new heights. Topped with more rich milky caramel and a sprinkling of sea salt, I could eat these every day (I would not advise this however - I'm envisioning the episode of the Simpsons where Homer gets hugely fat and walks around in muu-muus - he must've eaten these every day!)
The recipe can be made ahead, but sprinkle the salt on at the last minute. If you don't have Fleur de Sel, any sea salt would do fine.
Dulce de leche cheesecake squares
Bon Appetit, June 2010
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 17 whole graham crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
Fleur de sel**
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.
Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.
* A thick, sweet sauce made from caramelized sugar in milk or from sweetened condensed milk; available at some supermarkets and specialty foods stores and at Latin markets.
** A type of sea salt; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.