Sometimes, just sometimes, check that – most of the time I crave cheesecake. The deep, dense splendor that is all cheese just does it for me on so many levels. Add to that the crumbly texture of a graham cracker or cookie crust and you just can’t go wrong. While I really am not a huge dessert fan, there is something about cheesecake that makes my day.
I made this little gem in my Instant Pot with the pressure cooker function. Any electric pressure cooker (multi-cooker) will work also, I just grabbed my Instant Pot for this treat.
This recipe is a wonderful foundation for just about any indulgence you can think of adding to your cheesecake. The core of this recipe is a dense New York style cheesecake batter. I use a block of original cream cheese – not the lower fat, reduced fat or fake fat versions. You want a dense, rich full flavored cake here. I like to use a small curd – again whole milk fat – cottage cheese also. The texture and creaminess of the cottage cheese add just the right amount of flavor, density, and moisture. You could substitute good ricotta here for the cream cheese if you prefer.
The crust is a crumbly graham cracker base with just a bit of crushed pecans. I decided to add the pecans to the crust for added interest and to mirror the chopped pecans that I sprinkled on the top.
Add The Toppings
Then comes playtime! Spoiler alert – the cheesecake has to chill first. Ok, now it is really playtime. Grab your toffee bits, chopped pecans, and caramel topping and just release your artistic self. I sprinkled the toffee and pecans on the cheesecake and then grabbed the caramel sauce and just started making lines, dots, squiggles and whatever ever else I wanted and in what quantity I wanted! Love caramel – lots of drizzles. Think caramel is nice, but not a lot – just add some little dots. Or you can even switch it up and use a chocolate topping if you like. Wait for it…or both!
The point is, you have this fabulous classic cheesecake. Now you can add toppings to your heart’s content. Its lovely presentation makes it perfect for special occasions too. Now, here you have it.
Cheesecake with Toffee Bits, Pecans and Caramel
You will need:
- 6-inch springform pan buttered
- Steam rack
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans divided
- 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 lb brick-style cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cottage cheese preferably small-curd
- 1/2 lemon zest and juice
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Caramel ice cream topping
- Toffee bits
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush 2 tbsp pecans. In a small bowl, combine crushed pecans, graham cracker crumbs and butter until evenly moist. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.
- In food processor, process cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, add eggs through the feed tube and process until smooth. Add flour, cottage cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; process for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pour batter into the pan.
- Add 2 cups water (or the amount required by your cooker to reach pressure) to the pressure cooker and place the steam rack in the pot. Place the pan on the rack. Close and lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let stand, covered, until the float valve drops down. Check to make sure a tester inserted in the center of the cheesecake comes out clean; if more cooking time is needed, reset to high pressure for 5 minutes. Carefully remove pan and rack; let stand on rack for 1 hour. Remove the edges ring of the pan, cover and refrigerate cheesecake for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.
- Sprinkle remaining chopped pecans and toffee bits on top of the cheesecake. Heat caramel ice cream topping in the microwave or in a small saucepan, 30 seconds or until just softened. Drizzle caramel on top of the nuts and toffee.
- Tip* Make sure not to overprocess the mixture in step 2, or the cheesecake will become too firm and not as creamy.
- Variation* Instead of the graham cracker crumbs, use crushed vanilla wafers, chocolate wafers or shortbread cookies.
6-inch springform pan, buttered