This "turtle cheesecake" relates more to the Hare than the tortoise, because while I love cheesecakes-I hate the waiting involved. I am just too spontaneous (read: procrastinating) to fix recipes the night before. This recipe works well for me, because it requires only adequate "cooling" time and no "chill overnight or else" threats are to be found anywhere.
The "Turtle" part of this cheesecake, as opposed to my nephews thinking, has little to do with the real lumbering shelled animal and more to do with those luscious pieces of chocolatey caramel covered pecans. Oh yes. THOSE turtles are what we are referring to today...and this cheesecake does not disappoint in the way of marrying all flavors. Just look at that layer of caramel by the crust!
What? You can't see it!? Well, by all means: take a closer look....
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
14 ounces individually wrapped caramels
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1. Melt the butter and combine with the vanilla wafer crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Place the evaporated milk in a 1-1/2 quart heavy saucepan, and melt the caramels in it over low heat. Remember- 14 OUNCES worth of caramel, not 14 caramels. (don't ask me why I find it necessary to specify this...) Heat and stir frequently until smooth. Pour mixture onto crust, and top with pecans.
3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla; beat well until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after adding each egg.
4. Melt the chocolate, and combine with the cream cheese mixture. Pour over the carmel pecan mixture in springform pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Loosen cake from the edges of pan, but do not remove rim until cooled. Chill completely.
You can thank me later...