Would you believe me if I told you that I have never made a cheesecake before? It’s true. I told Fussellette that the other day and she nearly drove off the road. Oh sure, I’ve made one of those no-bake “cheese cake” confections, and something wrapped in pastry, but it’s not the same.
But I had all those gluten-free almond cookies still lying around — remember, the ones that were dry as a bone? I figured the best use for them would be to make them into nice stale crumbs, and maybe chuck them in a cheesecake. And so my first experience with cheesecake began.
I went to the Kraft website and picked up the recipe there, because the makers of cream cheese seemed to have the recipe at its most simplest, with fewest additions, and that’s the way I like things to be. This recipe needs only condensed milk, sugar, eggs, butter, cream cheese, and cookie crumbs. And my cellphone, because that’s where I access my recipes while I wait for my new computer to arrive (the old one died in a horrible, agonizingly slow way).
Start by preheating your oven to 425°F. In a 9″ pie pan, pour the contents of one 300mL can of condensed milk.
Cover it with foil and set it in a larger baking dish. Pour in some boiling water so that the milk is in a nice water bath. Bake that sucker for an hour.
I may have forgotten to check mine and overcooked it. But whatever. I like the spots. Adds texture. Remove the milk from the water bath and whisk it up until it’s smooth. Voila, dulce de leche. You can also just buy this from a store if you wish.
Pull out 1/2 cup of the sauce and put it aside to cool, probably about an hour. Refrigerate the rest once it’s cool.
When your sauce is cool (or at the very least, just slightly warm), preheat your oven again to 350°F this time. Spray the inside of a springform pan with cooking spray.
Melt 1/4 cup butter and mix it with 1 1/4 cups cookie crumbs. Press those into the bottom of the springform pan.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine 3 (250g) packages room temperature plain cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until well-combined. Remember that the warmer your cream cheese is, the less lumpy it will be.
Take the 1/2 cup of dulce de leche sauce and add that to the cream cheese mix. With the mixer on low, add in 3 eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined.
Pour into the springform pan and shake gently to level the top and loosen any bubbles.
Bake that puppy for 40-45 minutes, or until the centre is almost set. It’s very important not to open the oven door during baking, as the sudden temperature change could cause the thing to crack. Of course, the Pie didn’t know this and tossed in a piece of pizza to heat up. I wouldn’t let him take it out again, and so he had to wait 16 minutes for his now extra crispy slice and I was formally allowed to blame any cracks in the cheesecake firmly on him.
Fussellette tells me you should cool your cheesecake in the oven, just like you do with meringues. I put mine in a draftless room, which is what the recipe said. It still cracked, but I’m going to blame that on the Pie. While it’s cooling, make sure to run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Leave it in the pan until it’s totally cool, and then refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving.
Before serving, warm up the extra dulce de leche sauce and drizzle it over top. I am too lazy to keep reheating it every time I want a slice so I just poured mine over the top in a nice little circle. So very tasty!