Baking always fixes a rough mood, rough day, or even a rough week for me. Being a cheesecake lover, I decided this week would be a perfect time to try out a new cheesecake recipe with peaches, my favorite fruit. And this one has booze! A soft ending to a hard week. I like a good, smoky bourbon on the rocks. Let’s try some bourbon on a cheesecake. Shall we?!
While reading the instructions for this cheesecake I was first in love with the crust, having brown sugar, cracker crumbs, and pecans. That is a good start to any dessert. As I read on, I read how the egg is separated and you create almost a meringue and a whipped filling. This created a really fluffy batter. I made sure to surround the spring form pan with foil but made sure to allow space for rising. Watching it in the oven was interesting. The cheesecake rose and when it cooled it sank down and was a great soft textured heavy cheesecake like I love. After cooling and decorating the top with the roasted peaches I thought It still needed something. So, I added a simple caramel topping whipped up fast on the stove. The nurses on the floor loved this recipe and of course It was Grandma McMahan approved. Enjoy!
For the Bourbon Roasted Peaches:
8 ripe but firm peaches (about 3 pounds)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup Bourbon (I had Evan Williams on hand)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
For the Crust:
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Cheesecake Filling
4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 vanilla bean pods, seeds scraped out
1/2 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
For the Caramel Sauce
1 packed cup brown sugar
½ cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1.For the Bourbon Roasted Peaches: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
2.Slice 4 peaches into 3/4-inch thick slices. Arrange in single layer on 1 prepared baking sheet. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 1/4-inch diced pieces. Arrange in single layer on second prepared baking sheet.
3.Whisk together melted butter, bourbon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle half of bourbon mixture on sliced peaches and remaining half on diced peaches. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar on sliced peaches and remaining 2 tablespoons on diced peaches. Toss peaches to coat an rearrange in single layer. Roast until peaches are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes, alternating baking sheets’ positions halfway through. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
4.For the Crust: Decrease oven temperature to 350°F and adjust oven rack to middle position. Line exterior of springform pan with foil. Combine cracker crumbs, pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt in medium bowl, stirring until crumbs are thoroughly saturated with butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of pan, leaving about 1/2 inch from top of pan. (I only went up slightly with the crumbs. I like to see the layers)
5.Bake crust until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes.
6.For the Cheesecake Filling: Decrease oven temperature to 275°F. In large, clean, dry bowl, whip egg whites and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes longer. If using the stand mixer bowl, transfer whites to separate bowl and wipe out bowl.
7.Beat cream cheese, egg yolks, and flour on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream and continue beating until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes longer, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary. Stir in diced peaches.
8.Stir 1/3 of egg whites into cream cheese mixture, then, gently fold in remaining egg whites. Scrape batter into cooled crust and bake until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, 75 to 90 minutes. Shut oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven 20 minutes.
9.Transfer cheesecake to cooling rack and cool for 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and cool until completely chilled and set, at least 3 hours. Remove from springfrom mold and set on serving dish. Top with sliced peaches.
10. For the Caramel sauce: Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
Pour on top of cheesecake. Refrigerate. Devour!
(Adapted from seriouseats.com)