When Michael invited his colleagues around for dinner I knew that I wanted to make a dessert that used Dulce de Leche (or similar caramel sauce) in some way. The only issue I really faced was my own indecision. Should I make a hot pudding or a cold dessert? Should I make a pavlova or a cake? How much food should you realistically serve up to 4 people?A s is so often the way, for me at least, I ended up taking a fairly easy route out by making a non-baked Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake.
As I’m sure I’ve said before I have a general dislike of making baked cheesecakes. It all stems from the one time I made hot, sweet scrambled eggs and promised myself I’d never try again. I don’t always give up so easily with cooking but in the case of cheesecake I think a non-baked version can be just as good, if not better, so why take the risk? The addition of whipped cream makes the cheese so light and fluffy that even a generous helping of dulce de leche almost disappeared without trace.
It was tempting to make it as a caramel swirl, but I was concered that some people would get all caramel and some would get all cheese. Turns out it was a well placed fear – I watched the caramel sauce stubbornly move around the bowl as a single lump for a concerningly long time before it quickly mixed into the cheese and cream. Maybe it was a bit too cold, maybe I’ll try harder next time? Let me know if it works better for you…
In order to bring a full on chocolate experience to proceedings I made the base with Bourbon Biscuits, which are a British biscuit tin staple. You could use Oreo cookies (if you can tolerate their dusty flavour and texture) or indeed any biscuit you have to hand in place of them, just make sure you tweak the butter amount if you do. Not all biscuits are made equal.
It’s then topped off with a very rich dark chocolate sauce that couldn’t be much easier to make. Pour some melted chocolate into an equal amount of double cream (spiked with a hint of vanilla) and don’t stop stirring until it all comes together. It may not look that pretty at first but if you stick with it you’ll soon get a rich and glossy, pourable sauce. I’d recommend using a punchy dark chocolate so that it has a chance of standing out against the very sweet caramel – though if you like things extra sweet who am I to argue?
As always, this should keep, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days. Assuming there are:
(a) leftovers; and
(b) you don’t open the fridge and remind yourself it’s there…
Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake
I can't deny that the combination of Caramel and Dark Chocolate makes this a rich and indulgent dessert, but the addition of double cream keeps it light as a cloud and makes it a joy to eat.
for the Base
- 250 g Bourbon Biscuits
- 75 g Unsalted Butter
for the Filling
- 300 ml Double Cream
- 400 g Full-fat Soft Cheese
- 400 g Caramel or Dulce de Leche
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
for the Chocolate Sauce
- 200 g Dark Chocolate
- 200 ml Double Cream
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Make the Base
Break the bourbon biscuits into chunks, then put them into a food processor. Blitz until they've broken down into small crumbs. Add in the butter then blitz again until it starts to form something resembling wet sand.
Tip the mixture into a 20cm springform cake tin then press it down to cover the base with a uniform layer. Store in the fridge whilst you're doing the other steps.
Make the Filling
Put the cream cheese into a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until it has softened. Spoon in the caramel and mix together until smooth and well combined.
In a separate bowl whip the cream until it's forming soft peaks, before folding it through the cream cheese mixture. Once combined, pour over the prepared biscuit base and smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving to give it chance to set.
Make the Chocolate Sauce
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water. Don't overwork it or stir it more than needed as this could affect its texture. Once melted, put to one side to slightly cool.
Mix the double cream and vanilla extract together, before pouring into the liquid chocolate, whilst stirring constantly. Keep stirring until they combine to form a rich, glossy chocolate sauce - it may look like it's going to curdle but if you keep stirring it should all come together in the end.
Serve the cheesecake with the sauce drizzled over the top.