Turtle Cheesecake

turtle cheesecake

turtle cheesecake

Today is National Cheesecake Day!  Even though he should avoid nuts, Zach’s favorite cheesecake is turtle cheesecake.  He makes this one with pecans, which are softer than, say, peanuts, so this is somewhat better for those with conditions like diverticulosis.  If you have no dietary restrictions, then you might have to hold yourself back from eating the whole thing.

Makes one 9″ cheesecake

• For the caramel sauce:

3/4 cup of Straus Family Creamery organic heavy cream

3/4 cup of white sugar

3 tbs. of water

1/2 of the scrapings of one split vanilla bean

Combine the water and sugar in a heavy, thick-bottom saucepan.  Heat on medium-high for 7-9 minutes until it reaches a medium to medium-dark amber color.  Do not stir during these 7-9 minutes.

Stirring constantly now, slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla bean scrapings (save the bean itself and put it in your sugar container to infuse the sugar for future baking).  Cook for 4-5 minutes until the hardened caramel is smooth and dissolved, and the sauce starts to thicken.  It will thicken more as it cools, but wait just a bit before transferring to a glass bowl so that you don’t shock the glass and crack it.  Set aside and let thicken further.

• For the crust:

2 cups of organic graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup of C&H white sugar

5 tbs. of melted butter (from Straus Family Creamery)

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar, and stir so that they’re evenly mixed.  Add the butter and mix until it is fully crumbly and all the crumbs are moistened.

pressed in

pressed in

Press into a 9″ springform pan.  Cover the bottom evenly, and also press the crumbs about 1 1/2″ up the sides.  A dry measuring cup helps to press down (into the bottom, at least).  With one extra large piece of foil, cover the outside bottom of the pan and fold up the edges; this will keep water from seeping in from the bain marie during cooking.  Set aside for now.

• For the filling:

2 lbs. of cream cheese at room temperature

1 1/4 cups of white sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream (Straus)

2/3 cup of sour cream (Straus)

4 oz. of semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup of chopped and toasted pecans

1/2 of the scrapings of one split vanilla bean

Put the room temperature cream cheese in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix for about 1 minute on low speed, never higher than speed 2, just to get it loose and creamy.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle while mixing to make sure it’s all loosened.



Add the sugar and vanilla bean scrapings (and put this bean bit in your sugar, along with the other bit).  Mix for another 2 minutes, making sure to scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Add the eggs one at a time while still mixing.  Once the eggs are fully incorporated, turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Add the sour cream, then mix again on low speed for 20 seconds.  Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl and paddle, add the whipping cream, and mix once more on low speed for another 20-30 seconds.

Evenly lay the pecans on the crust, then pour the caramel over the pecans.

pour the filling

pour the filling

Pour in the cheesecake filling, but pour it over the back of a large cooking spoon so that it gently falls over the caramel layer without disturbing it.

Fill a large, deep baking pan with an inch of water.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F with the baking pan with water, to warm the water a bit.  When the oven is ready, place the foil-wrapped springform pan in the water for the bain marie.  Bake for 90 minutes.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before putting in the refrigerator.  It is recommended that you keep it in the fridge for 12-24 hours before decorating and serving.



Melt the semisweet chocolate and transfer to a parchment paper cone (or a sandwich bag with the corner cut out).  Stripe the top of the cheesecake to your heart’s content.  Whipped cream has a similar texture to the cheesecake itself, but if you feel like adding it for looks, go ahead.

Posted on July 30, 2013, in Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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