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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pear Caramel Cheesecake

Pear Caramel Cheesecake
Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert.  This cheesecake is infused with a delicate pear flavour, topped with fresh fragrant pears and drizzled with rich caramel.  It is worth every calorie, and seriously who's counting anyways? 
I think there exists a common misconception that baking a cheesecake is a daunting task.  It really is quite simple.   My husband baked me a delicious cheesecake for my birthday last year, and he does not bake.  So go on, give it a try, just make sure you have lots of people to share with!

Pear Caramel Cheesecake
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325°.  Line the bottom of a spring form pan with parchment.  Combine all ingredients and press into the bottom of the spring form pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2 bricks of cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 can (14oz/398ml) unsweetened pears
3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine cream cheese and sugar and beat well, ensuring there are no lumps.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing slowly until each egg is completely incorporated.  Drain canned pears.  Puree pears until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture and mix until well blended.  Pour filling over prepared crust.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn off the oven.  Remove the cheesecake from oven and slide a thin sharp knife around the edge of the pan.  Return the cheesecake to the oven. Leave the door ajar and allowing the cake to cool slowly.  Remove cheesecake after approx 1 hr.  Cover cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I prefer overnight.  To serve remove rim of spring form pan.  Remove cheesecake from the base if possible.  Sometimes you can tell it's just not going to happen.  Don't sweat it, leave the base on. 

1-2 pears, fresh, ripe and slightly firm. Thinly sliced.

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until butter is completely melted. Raise temperature to medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. This is important, you don't want a grainy texture to your caramel.  Raise heat to medium, continuing to stir until mixture reaches a boil.  Stir at a boil for 2-3 min.  Remove from heat.  If taking your cheesecake somewhere use a thermos to keep your caramel deliciously hot. 

Garnish with fresh, thinly sliced pears. Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Serves 12.

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