[NOTE: I made this dessert as part of a Daring Bakers challenge. This means it was an experiment that I most likely only made once, maybe twice, before posting here. Because the recipe has not been thoroughly tested, I cannot guarantee the results.]
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
The infamous cheesecake recipe comes from Jenny’s friend Abbey, and in this challenge we were given lots of room for creativity. We had to use the cheesecake recipe as is, though we could flavor it any way we wanted to. We also had freedom to choose the crust and anything else to go with it. I chose to make a variation on my mini chocolate pecan pies and spotted a recipe in one of my mother’s cookbooks that gave me the idea for how to put it together. Bourbon and pecans are a classic combination, so it seemed natural to flavor the cheesecake and the pecan topping with bourbon.
After being on hiatus for several months, I was glad to get back into the fun of the challenges and enjoyed it thoroughly, especially since cheesecake is my favorite dessert. We liked the combination of flavors, and the cheesecake was a hit with all my neighborhood friends.
Thanks to Jenny of Jenny Bakes for hosting this month. It was a very delicious and fun challenge!
I've learned a few things over the years as I try to perfect my cheesecake techniques. For the water bath, I now put the cheesecake pan into a cake pan that's slightly larger than the cheesecake pan, then set them into the roasting pan. Add water until it's about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. This prevents water from seeping into the bottom of the cheesecake.
[Updated November 25, 2020]
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake
- 9-inch springform pan, greased, outside wrapped in heavy aluminum foil
- food processor
- small sauce pan or glass bowl
- stand mixer with paddle attachment, or hand mixer and large bowl
- 10-inch cake pan (large enough to hold the springform pan)
- medium mixing bowl
- deep large roasting pan (large enough to hold the cake pan)
Chocolate Cookie Crust
- 16 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 24 ounces packaged cream cheese (at room temperature (not light or fat free), )
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 8 teaspoons golden syrup (or corn syrup)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup rough chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (Gas Mark 4 = 180° C = Moderate heat).
- Crush the cookies in the food processor until they are crumbs. Pour into a bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the springform pan. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream in the sauce pan over low heat or in the glass bowl microwave. Stir well, until combined. Pour the chocolate ganache over the crust and spread as necessary. Set aside.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer) cream cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
- In the medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.
- Pour on the cheesecake filling, spreading as necessary. Tap on the counter to burst any bubbles. Sprinkle on the pecans, then pour on the topping.
- Put the cheesecake pan into the cake pan, and then place them in the middle of the roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it's about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Take care not to get any water in the cheesecake. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done. This can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. (Since this cheesecake has a topping, you won’t see the jiggle so much.) Turn the heat off and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.