I’ve heard of Dulce de Leche a million times, but never actually used it in a recipe until now. When I was looking at different ideas for cheesecakes, this one popped up. My husband asked, “What is Dulce de Leche?” His question made me realize that I didn’t know exactly what it was, so off to Doctor Google I went.
For all you caramel fans, Dulce de Leche is slow cooked caramel. O…M…G… If that doesn’t sound amazing, I don’t know what does. So, I started my hunt at the store to find this incredible unicorn. I thought it would be in the baking aisle, but I thought wrong. I guess it makes sense though with a name like Dulce de Leche, because that definitely ain’t English.
The consistency is SO much thicker than traditional caramel, so I played with this recipe to figure out exactly how much would go into the cheesecake itself and whatever was left to go on top. The ratio turned out perfect with 1/2 cup going in the filling and the rest on top, along with a light sprinkle of sea salt. I am completely in love.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
For the Crust
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
14 oz. can Dulce de Leche, divided
For the Topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Double-wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, place inside a 12 inch cake pan. Place graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small mixing bowl, toss together. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Rub butter all along the bottom of the springform pan, then press graham cracker mixture evenly along the bottom. Place pans in the oven to bake for 7 minutes, remove pans from oven and set aside.
In a standing mixer (or mixing bowl and using electric mixer), add 8 oz. cream cheese, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar. Beat at medium speed with the paddle attachment until mixture is smooth. Add another 8 oz. cream cheese, along with 1/3 cup sugar, ½ cup Dulce de Leche and continue to beat until smooth. Add remaining cream cheese and granulated sugar, one at a time, until smooth. Slow mixer to stirring speed, add vanilla and one egg at a time, scraping down the sides. Turn to stirring speed and slowly add heavy cream, beat just until mixed in (do not overmix). Spoon batter into springform pan on top of graham cracker crust and spread into an even layer.
Pour warm water into the larger cake pan, creating a water bath (this prevents cracks). The water should come up at least 1 inch around the springform pan. Carefully place pans in oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Remove pans from oven, pull the springform pan out of the larger pan and place on a cooling rack for about 4 hours to cool completely. Remove aluminum foil from around pan.
Cover springform pan with plastic wrap and place in freezer to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Remove plastic wrap from springform pan, release and remove sides of springform. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of cheesecake, turn upside down onto a flat surface. Carefully remove bottom of pan, turn back over onto a serving plate. Spread remaining Dulce de Leche on top of cheesecake into a smooth layer and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt, return to freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Cut into slices with a sharp, straight edged knife, wiping knife between each cut. Store cheesecake in refrigerator until ready to serve for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.
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