Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bacon Cheesecake with Bacon-Infused Toppings

Alternate Title: How I Would Die Were I a Diabetic.

I am surely going to hell for this concoction, but I must say that the ride is totally worth it. I came up with the idea after the amusement that ensued after making bacon potato chips to go with vegetarian burgers. Thoughts evolved, and here she is....

The crust is a simple almond and graham cracker crust, which is then topped with a layer of candied bacon. Standard cheesecake is then poured over the crust and baked. The crowning glory is split between the crispy bacon bits mixed into a dark chocolate topping and the caramel sauce that is made with bacon fat (told you I was going to hell). This cheesecake has all the smooth creaminess and mild tartness you'd expect from such a dessert, with the subtle addition of smoky, salty bacon. The juxtaposition of flavors is pure sin.

Most cheesecake snobs would insist that you use a water bath when baking the cheesecake, lest it be marred by unsightly cracks. I have yet to come across a cheesecake that tasted better or worse based on the smoothness of its surface, so I don't bother. If cracks offend you, by all means find yourself a pan big enough to hold your spring form AND a quart of boiling water.

Bacon Cheesecake with Bacon-Infused Toppings

Bacon Layer:
6 strips thick-cut bacon
3 tbs brown sugar

2 c low fat graham cracker crumbs
6 tbs melted butter
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c ground almonds

24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 c heavy cream
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs bourbon
2 tbs flour, sifted

6 strips bacon, diced
1 c sugar
1 tbs water
1 tbs butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 c heavy cream
1 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Bacon Layer:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon and pat down to coat. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until sugar starts to caramelize and bacon has crisped. Remove from oven, cool, and chop. Set aside.

Reduce oven to 350F. Mix together the crust ingredients until well-combined. Put 3/4 cup of the crust mixture to a air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for later. Press remaining crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the cooled caramelized bacon evenly over the crust and set aside.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and cream together with a mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl a few times to ensure all the cream cheese is mixed in. Add cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and bourbon; blend until smooth and creamy, again stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Add flour slowly, mixing until cheesecake batter is completely smooth.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, using a water bath if desired. The outer edges will be set, while the center 2 inches will appear uncooked. Do not remove the cake from the oven, but carefully run a rubber spatula around the edges to release the edges. Close oven and turn off heat; let the cake rest in the oven one hour. Remove, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

After the cheesecake has cooled overnight, release the springform pan and place cheesecake on serving dish. Press the reserved crust crumbs into the sides of the cheesecake.

Bacon Caramel Topping:
Fry bacon until crispy. Reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, drain the bacon and allow to cool. Set bacon bits aside.

Stir together sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the sugar has melted, bring to a slow boil until mixture is caramel colored. Add bacon grease and butter. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, lemon juice, and cream. Cool sauce at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pour caramel over the top of the cheesecake.

Bacon Chocolate Drizzle:
Microwave chocolate chips in a small bowl for 30 seconds and stir; repeat until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in bacon bits, then drizzle chocolate over cheesecake in desired pattern. Allow chocolate to harden, then serve. Makes 16 slices; store in refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you really did it! Even though I can't say I'd try a bite, I certainly admire the ambition inherent in this endeavor :]