Friday, March 15, 2013

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake w/ Strawberries

My friend and fellow intern, Casandra, is a little out there.  And by a little out there, I mean she is always saying something hysterical that makes you laugh, and always brings a smile to your face.  She is also one of the sweetest and most genuine people I've ever met, and I would do anything for her.  And by anything, I mean honor her request to make a really weird cheesecake for her boyfriend, Filipe's birthday.

Filipe might be even more of a strange character than Casandra, and they are perfect for each other.  Casandra told me that Filipe's two favorite things in the world are dulce de leche and strawberries.  I gave her two options: a strawberry cheesecake, or a dulce de leche cake.  She asked if there was a way to combine both flavors.  I immediately scrunched up my nose and thought, "gross."  I don't like mixing caramel and fruit.  I am a purist when it comes to fruit: I only like to use it in season and on its own.  But, this cake wasn't for me, so I decided to put my flavor combination morals aside and make this weird concoction for Casandra and Filipe.

I came up with this:

*I didn't have time to take step by step photos, so please forgive me!*

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, topped with Fresh Strawberries
Recipe heavily adapted from my last cheesecake
Yield: 1 large cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Crust Directions:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.  Press into the bottom of a spring-form pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Filling Ingredients:
2 8oz packages cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 13.4oz can dulce de leche
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup whole milk

Filling Directions:
1.  Beat cream cheese on high speed until fluffy.
2.  Add the sugar, vanilla, flour, and dulce de leche and beat just until combined.
3.  Add in eggs, yolk, and milk.  Beat just until smooth.
4.  Pour filling over crust.
5.  Bake in a water bath at 375°F for 45-50 minutes.
6.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Then loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan with a knife, but do not release the pan.
7.  Allow to sit another 30 minutes.  Then release the sides.  Finish cooling for another hour on the wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.

Decorate as desired.  I used sliced strawberries.

As weird a combination as it sounds, I'm actually pretty happy with the way it turned out!  Maybe Casandra and Filipe aren't so out there after all...

¡Parabéns, Filipe!

Love and cookies,

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