This cheesecake is made with dulce de leche, the famous caramel treat that enhances so many Latin desserts. The dark chocolate crust is made with chocolate cookies, pecans, and actual dark chocolate, and the cake is topped off with candied cranberries (which are easy to make) as well as candied nuts. This is a showstopping dessert, perfect for a holiday meal or other special occasion.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 8-10.
- For the Crust:
- 3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- For the Filling:
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche (one 13.4 ounce can)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- For the Cranberries:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup cranberries
- 3/4 cup candied pecans
- To make candied cranberries: Bring water and 3/4 cup sugar to a boil, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and place over a double boiler. Stir in cranberries. Cook cranberries in double boiler over simmering water for about an hour. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain cranberries well. Roll in remaining granulated sugar. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Prepare cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place the cookie crumbs in a food processor with the pecans, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and salt. Pulse until you have a uniform crumb mixture. Place crumb mixture into a bowl, and gently stir in the melted butter until well incorporated.
- Spray sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray or lightly grease with butter. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, using the bottom of a glass to help press them down evenly. Bake crumbs in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Make the filling: Place the softened cream cheese into the bowl of a standing mixture. Beat cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth and light. Add the sugar gradually, beating after each addition, until filling is very light and whipped in appearance. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Add the dulce de leche, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and mix well. Add the cream and mix.
- Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with a couple of large pieces of aluminum foil, making sure the foil comes well up the sides of the pan, almost to the top. The foil will prevent the water bath from leaking into the cheesecake. Pour the filling into the springform pan over the crust. Place the pan inside of a roasting pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high. Place in the oven.
- Carefully fill the roasting pan with hot water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake cheesecake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until it has an internal temperature of 150 degrees and is not completely firm (cake will still "jiggle" when the pan is moved). Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Remove cheese cake and let cool in the water bath outside of the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove cheesecake from water bath and let cool on a rack for about 2 hours. Place cheesecake in refrigerator and chill 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. Garnish with candied cranberries and pecans.