Grim weather and cold dark nights call for a bit of comfort food. I love the salted caramel products that are around at the moment and have a jar of vanilled infused salt on the go at all times. This cheesecake recipe I saw originally in a Donna Hay magazine but the ingredients seemed to make it off the scale calorie wise. My version is a little lighter and uses ricotta. It’s perfect for entertaining and you can always substitute a jar of ready made caramel sauce (Surrey based chocolatiers Ildiko’s make a gorgeous range) for home made. Make ahead of time as it needs at least 3 hours to chill before eating!
Cheesecake and base
60g ground almonds
150g butter, melted
500g ricotta cheese
350g cream cheese
175g dark brown sugar
4 free range eggs, beaten
2 x 15ml spoons maple syrup
1x 2.5ml spoon vanilla infused Maldon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250ml single cream
1 seeds from 1 vanilla pod
60g butter, chopped
175g dark brown sugar
300ml half fat crème fraiche
1 tablespoon icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
Vanilla sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Break up the biscuits and place with the ground almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
Add the melted butter and process again to combine evenly.Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm spring-form cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Then add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until combined. Add the eggs gradually to combine evenly. Pour in the syrup, vanilla salt and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the biscuit base. Place the tin in a baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the tin
Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the tin then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Make the caramel sauce by placing the cream, vanilla seeds, butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for 5–7 minutes or until thickened. This can be made in advance and heated through just prior to serving.
Mix the crème fraiche and icing sugar together and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Serve each slice with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of vanilla salt.
Download a printable version of the recipe here for salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake