Caramel Cheesecake


For the Crust:
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1&1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

For the Caramel:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup whipping cream

For the Cheesecake:

4 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 tablespoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Caramel Panes: (optional)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water


For the crust:
- Combine butter and crumbs, mixing well with a fork. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

For the caramel:
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well. Cover with a lid and cook until sugar turns a medium amber color, about 3&1/2 minutes after mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir 30 seconds. Slowly stir in cream, being careful to avoid spatters. Set aside.

For the cheesecake:
- Beat cream cheese and both sugars at medium speed of an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating on lowest speed of mixer just until incorporated.

- Pour two-thirds of batter over crust. Beat caramel mixture into remaining batter. Pour caramel batter over plain batter in pan and swirl mixtures with a rubber spatula.

- Bake at 350°F. for about 50 minutes, or until edges are firm but middle still wiggles. Remove from oven and cool. Chill. Decorate with caramel panes just before serving.

Caramel Panes: (Optional)
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil until mixture is light brown and a small amount dropped in cold water forms a brittle ball. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a 9-inch, well-buttered round cake pan or plate.

- When the caramel starts to harden, cut each circle into six wedges with a pizza wheel or a sharp knife. As caramel continues to harden, recut the wedges several times.

- Slide the tip of a sharp knife under a wedge and remove from plate. Place on a buttered cookie sheet to continue cooling. Continue with remaining panes. Some may break. Save six of the most attractive panes for the decoration.

- Just before serving, place three panes in a spoke pattern on top of cheesecake. In each space between panes, wedge a pane vertically into cake.


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