This weekend is the start of the Nine Days, when observant Jews abstain from both any meat products or wine. So while you're switching your chicken and steak for mac and cheese or fried tilapia, you can pair your dinner with this delicious, indulgent cheesecake.
The base and crust are super simple, but topping them with both a swirl of chocolate ganache and sticky caramel brings it to a whole new level. This is one dessert you'll want to bring back throughout the year – and of course at Shavuot.
You can do this in steps, making the crust the night before. You can even top it with the filling a few hours before baking, and store it in the fridge as you make the ganache and caramel.
Caramel is certainly… sticky and as soon as it starts to cool it can cling to even your most non-stick pans. To clean them off, fill your pot with water and bring to a boil, stirring and gently scraping any remnants from the side as it heats.
Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cheesecake
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
10 tbsps butter or margarine, melted
20 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cream
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
Mix the crust ingredients together and press in to the bottom of a greased 9×13" pan. Set aside.
For the ganache, bring the cream to just a boil, then pour over the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture together until completely incorporated. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Pour in to the prepared pan and spread until smooth.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably not non-stick, heat the cup of sugar over medium-low heat. Stir it lightly and gently as it starts to brown and liquefy (David Lebovitz gives much better instructions than I do). Continue cooking until all the sugar has melted and it is turning a beautiful dark brown – but don't let it burn! Add in the butter and cream – it will bubble up like crazy so don't use a small skillet – and mix quickly to combine to a thick, creamy sauce.
Swirl both the chocolate ganache and the caramel over the cheesecake. You may not want to use all of both mixtures. Use the rest as ice cream toppings!
Bake the cheesecake on 350 F for about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate until completely cold, about 2 hours, before serving.