Since you need some words to make this:
This recipe is a combination of things. The original inspiration for the cheesecake came from the Foster’s Market Cookbook (see here for the recipe from the cookbook on Cookstr which also has the pumpkin and the Kahlua variations; see here for the recipe on the Foster’s Market’s own website). I took the caramel sauce from that recipe, although I played around with it a little. I had a problem with the original chocolate topping being too hard to cut through, so I added some butter and cream to make it softer. For the cheesecake itself, I like my variation on Nick Malgieri’s recipe. The original recipe calls for chopping all the pecans, but I like to use some of the pecans for a border.
Sour Cream Cheesecake
Adapted from Nick Malgieri. The amount of cheesecake listed below is for a 2″ high 9″ diameter cake pan. If you would like to make a thicker cheesecake in a 3″ high 9″ diameter springform pan, take a look at my original post which gives both the smaller and the larger recipe.
pulverize a 4.25 ounce package of tea biscuits (about 109 g.) or an equivalent amount of graham crackers and mix with 1-2 Tbl sugar and 5-6 Tbl. melted butter
Optional add-ins to the crust: 3-4 Tbl. chopped pecans (for the larger amount of crust, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Press the crust crumbs into a well-buttered 9″ round cake pan, evenly covering the bottom and the sides.
Chill the crust while you make the filling.
Filling amount for a 9″ pan that is normal height (about 2″):
10-11 ounces cream cheese (10.66 ounces)
2/3 cup sugar
10-11 ounces sour cream (10.66 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IS LETTING THE CREAM CHEESE COME TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. If you are impatient, buy whipped cream cheese, which seems to soften faster.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (I know Nick’s recipe says 350 degrees, but I go with 325 degrees.)
Combine the cream cheese and sugar UNTIL THE MIXTURE IS COMPLETELY SMOOTH. DO NOT SKIMP HERE EITHER. This is your one chance to get a smooth, lump free mixture of sugar and cream cheese. Once you add the other ingredients, it will be very hard to get out any remaining lumps, so take your time and make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
Add vanilla and sour cream and mix gently until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing only until combined.
Pour the batter into your crust and pop it into the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the mixture is set on the edges and slightly jiggly in the very center. It will continue to cook as it cools. YOU MUST NOT TRY TO CUT INTO THE CHEESECAKE UNTIL IT HAS HAD A CHANCE TO CHILL OVERNIGHT.
If you want to do the water bath thing to help shield your cheesecake from over baking, you can put the pan in a larger pan with a 1/2″ of water (you will need to wrap the bottom of your springform pan in foil to prevent seepage, if you are using both the springform pan and the water bath). I personally don’t bother with the water bath and my cheesecakes come out just fine.
After the cheesecake has had a chance to chill overnight, you are ready to turn it into turtle cheesecake. You will need three additional components: pecans, caramel sauce, chocolate glaze.
2 ounces pecans (about 32 pecan halves), reserve 16 halves for decorating edges and chop the rest for putting in the center (ideally, the pecans are toasted a bit, but not a huge deal one way or another)
Adapted from Foster’s Market.
This is more sauce than you will need for the cheesecake. Make only half this amount if you don’t want so much extra sauce. But the sauce is yummy and can be used for other desserts, so it is worth making the full amount.
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream (or you can use mix of cream and butter–this time I used 3/4 cup cream and 3 Tbl. butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla (or more, I used 1 full tsp. this time)
optional, a pinch or two of salt
Caramelize the sugar in a 3 quart saucepan. If you do not know how to do this,take a look at the above linked tutorials. Here is how I do it: carefully pour the sugar into the center of the 3 quart pot. Be careful to not get sugar on the sides of the pot. Pour a little water around the sugar to make a little moat separating the sugar from the edge of the pot. The sugar will soak up the water and get damp. Put a medium high flame under the pot. The water will boil and the sugar will start to melt. At first you will have an opaque sugar slurry. Then, as the sugar melts, the mixture will become clear and start to boil. Don’t stir because this can cause the sugar to crystallize. After a while the foaming will intensify and then the sugar will start to get golden. You can swirl the sugar just a bit to make sugar the evenly colors.
You need to have set out the cream next to the pot ahead of time, before the sugar starts to caramelize. When the sugar start to color, it browns very quickly and and you need to add the cream at just the right moment. When the sugar is about the color of a penny, add the cream. Be careful! Sugar gets extremely hot when it caramelizes and the mixture can splatter and foam up. Stand back and add the cream carefully (if you are also using butter, add the butter as well at this point). Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar and cream together. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes to get out any lumps. Off heat, you can add the vanilla and, if you like, a pinch of salt.
Let the sauce cool, but don’t refrigerate it yet. It will thicken as it cools and it will get too hard to spread at refrigerator temperature. You will have more sauce than you need for the cheesecake. Just store the extra sauce in the refrigerator when you are finished making the cheesecake.
When the sauce is tepid, you can put a thin layer over the top of the cheesecake. Take the pecan halves (12-16), dip then in caramel sauce, and arrange them around the cheesecake edge to make a border. Mix the chopped pecans with enough caramel sauce to coat them and spread this mixture in the center of the cheesecake. Let this rest while you make the chocolate glaze.
2 ounces chocolate chips or other semisweet chocolate or milk chocolate
2 Tbl. heavy cream
1 Tbl. butter
Melt together chocolate, cream and butter until evenly melted and smooth. Drizzle over the center of the cheesecake, over the nuts and caramel.
Refrigerate the cheesecake until ready to serve. This cheesecake freezes very well. It will be easiest to remove from the pan, in fact, while it is still frozen. If I wasn’t planning on freezing the cheesecake, I would have taken the cheesecake from the pan before adding the caramel and chocolate. It is a little hard to get the cheesecake out of the pan when it is topped with caramel that isn’t frozen.