So, what's a villain to do when "Jenny Bakes" of the Daring Bakers challenges her to take a classic cheesecake recipe and make it her own? (Thanks for a wonderful April Daring Bakers Challenge, Jenny!) Cover it in bacon fat, of course! MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!To be honest, the bacon is pretty subtle in this recipe. (Drat!) Every once in awhile you get a definitively meaty bite in the crust or the chocolate candy drizzle, but it just adds a smoky richness to the caramel sauce that tastes nothing like your Sunday bacon n' eggs breakfast.
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abby's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Abby's Infamous Cheesecake with a Bacon Crust and Bacon Turtle Topping:
2 cups Low-Fat Graham Cracker Crumbs (cookie must be low-fat to avoid soggy crust)
2 Tbs. Butter, melted
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup extra-crispy Bacon Crumbles
1/2 cup ground Almonds
24 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs. Bourbon
Bacon Turtle Topping:
1 cup Sugar
1 Tbs. water
3 Tbs. cold Bacon Fat (drained and chilled until solid after cooking the bacon)
1 Tbs. Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 package of Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup extra-crispy Bacon Crumbles
Make the Cheesecake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. (Use enough of the crust ingredients to make the crust 1/4 inch deep). Hello, lovah!
Tap your crust with an empty drinking glass for an even texture. It should be fairly dry...the bacon will render some fat into the crust as it bakes, and anything else will result in the dreaded soggy-crust. Doesn't my thumb look gross in this picture? I'm a hobbit!
Cover and store the extra crust crumbs in the refrigerator.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and cream together with a hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. If using a springform pan, place the pan into the center of the oven, and place 3 smaller cake pans around and under the cheesecake. Fill the empty cake pans with boiling water. (Ok, ok, or use a true water bath. Hate, hate water baths.) If using a foil baking dish, insert into a larger cake pan and fill the outside, empty pan with boiling water.5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes. The edges will be set, but the center will have alot of jiggle to it and will appear uncooked. Carefully run a knife around the edges to release the cake and avoid cracking. Without removing the cake, close the oven door and turn it off; let the cake rest for one hour. Remove it, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
After the cheesecake has cooled overnight, remove it from the springf orm pan, press the remaining crust crumbs into the sides of the cheesecake, and place on your serving plate. Mr. CheesecakeFace looks on disapprovingly, and says "You should have used a true water bath, E.Lee"Make Bacon Caramel Sauce:
Stir together sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow sauce pan. It should be dry and crumbly. Cook the sugar/water over medium-high heat. Gently stir the grainy sugar mixture into the sugar that is melting in the center of the pan.
Shake the pan rather than stirring after all the sugar has melted, and bring to a boil. Let boil until amber in color. Add the bacon grease and butter. Gratuitous bacon fat picture below, just for Liza Jane and PapayaBlue. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Let the sauce thicken for 20 minutes, then pour over the top of your cheesecake, letting some pool in the middle.
Make Bacon Chocolate Drizzle:
Microwave the chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds, and stir until all of the chips are melted. If some pieces remain, microwave for another 30 seconds and stir.
Carefully fill a piping bag with the melted chocolate and decorate your cake. Sprinkle the bacon pieces onto the chocolate immediately. The chocolate will harden into a bacon-candy shell once cooled.