Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

Ever since I learned how to bake, I always wanted a springform pan. Imagine all the cheesecakes I could bake and the ease with which I could bake them. However, they were terribly expensive which was why I never bought one for myself. Even when I got a job and started earning a bit and could very well afford that guilty pleasure, I still didn't get one. A funny sort of phobia I guess. Until about a few days ago, I was browsing through Living Well Home Store in SM Mall of Asia and came across unbelievable deals on good quality springform pans. I was so elated, I jumped at the golden opportunity. I got a two-piece (10" and 8") springform pan set for only Php432 from the original price of Php720. And a set of 2 mini springform pans for Php270 (originally Php450).

With my spanking new springform pans, I can finally make my own Turtle Cheesecake. This cheesecake has been my favorite cheesecake flavor ever since I got to try one at Fazoli's. Unfortunately, they took it out of their menu. Hence, my resolve to bake my own. So when I saw the recipe for the Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake inside the box of Philadelphia cream cheese a couple of years ago, I kept the package waiting for the day that I get my very own springform pan. And now the time has come.

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake
PREP: 30 minutes plus refrigerating BAKE: 1 hour 10 minutes
2 cups OREO Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 bag (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup PLANTERS Pecan Pieces
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 squares BAKER's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

MIX crumbs; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Place caramels and milk in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Pour 1/2 of the caramel mixture into crust. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
Set remaining caramel mixture aside for later use.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until bleded. Pour over caramel mixture in crust.
BAKE at 325F for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set if using a silver springform pan. (Bake at 300F for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set if using a dark nonstick springform pan.) Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing side of pan.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Top with remaining caramel mixture and pecans just before serving. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

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