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Salted caramel and macadamia nut cheesecake

A few years ago I started working in the West End, around 4 minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus and during the 3 years I spent there I can honestly say I ate some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! After I’d been there a few months my colleagues and I found dozens of family run deli’s and cafe’s offering authentic cuisine from all over the world.

As you can imagine I over induldged for almost three years straight! As it got nearer to pay day each month and money got tighter, we spent less time in deli’s and more time in Tesco which is where I came across, and fell in love with, salted caramel and macadamia nut cheesecake slices. I kid you not, I bought these every day for about 2 weeks. Unfortunately it was never rolled out to my local Tesco and was discontinued shortly after I first discovered it, never to return again!

Fortunately I’ve finally learnt to cook, so I thought I’d treat myself to this and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

Ingredients

For the salted caramel

4 tbsp water
250g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
175ml double cream
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt

For the biscuit base

250g plain digestive biscuits
100g butter

For the “cheese”

560g soft cheese (2 x 280g packs Philadelphia)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g icing sugar
280 ml double cream
5 macadamia nuts

For the caramelised nut topping

5 macadamia nuts roughly chopped or broken
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

You will also need a springform cake tin, an electric hand mixer and a rubber spatula or pallet knife for this recipe.

Method

We’ll start with the biscuit base, because this needs to be chilled in the fridge for 1 hour before the cheese added.

Grease the base and sides of your cake tin well with a knob of butter.

Add the biscuits to a food processor and blitz to a fine, even crumb. If you don’t have one, place them in a sandwich bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.

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Melt the butter in the microwave and then pour into the crushed biscuits. Mix well with a wooden spoon, ensuring all of the crumbs are coated. Tip them into your cake tin, spread them evenly across it and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon until the base is tightly packed.

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Place in the fridge for 1 hour to allow to set.

We’ll make the caramel sauce next, as two tablespoons of this will be added to the cheesecake topping.

Add the cream and vanilla extract to a small saucepan and gently warm on a low heat.

In a separate, large saucepan combine the caster sugar and water, (non stick will be easier to clean later!) and mix well. Place the saucepan over a medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the whole surface is bubbling. It’s important at this stage not to stir the mixture, as it can make it become grainy, so you’ll need to swirl the bubbling sugar around in the pan to stop it from burning.

Remove the large saucepan from the heat and pour in the warmed cream and then the butter, whisking quickly the whole time. Add the salt and then return the large saucepan to the heat for a further 1-2 mins until the caramel starts to bubble again.

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Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring all but two tablespoons into a container and placing in the fridge.

With a sharp knife, roughly chop the macadamia nuts into lemon pip sized pieces and place to one side.

Once the base has been refrigerated for at least an hour you can make your topping.

Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and beat with the hand mixer until smooth. Pour in the cream, 2 tablespoons of caramel and add the chopped nuts. Beat again until you achieve a smooth but firm consistency.

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Remove the cake tin from the fridge and spoon the cheese evenly onto the base. Use your spatula or palette knife to spread the cheese, pressing down gently to ensure there are no air pockets.

Place the cheesecake into the fridge to set for at minimum of 8 hours.

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Once your cheesecake has set, remove from the fridge and place to one side for about 5 minutes. Run a warm wet cloth around the sides of the springform tin before removing them, this will stop them taking half of the cheesecake with them!

Slide your palette knife under your biscuit base gently to loosen and slide onto a plate.

*A tip if you have trouble removing the base of the cake tin is to heat the underneath of it up gently, this melts the butter you greased it with and will make it easier to slide the cheesecake off. You can use a lighter or hob ring for this but don’t apply heat for more than 30 seconds at a time!*

Remove the caramel sauce from the fridge and pour onto the cheesecake, spreading with a palette knife as you go.

If your sauce has gone a little hard in the fridge just pour it into a saucepan and heat gently until you’re happy with the texture. Allow to cool before pouring onto the cheesecake.

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I also caramelised some broken macadamia nuts and added these to decorate. All you need to do for this step is add a small handful of broken/chopped nuts to a non stick pan along with 2 tablespoons of sugar, place over a medium head and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until golden.

Let these cool for 2 minutes before spooning onto your cheesecake, and voila!

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I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  I’d love to see your pictures if you decide to use this it, you can tag me in them on twitter or on Instagram @_YumLily !

Lily x

 

 

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