Maple Bacon Cheesecake

Submitted by Lynn Wheeler


About the cook: I am a 43 year old self taught chef who has worked in restaurants for 25 years and been cooking professionally for the past 12 years. I have been executive chef of restaurants in New York City, New Jersey, and Florida. I currently own and operate Duck Truck Gourmet a mobile food and catering concept.

About the dish: One of my favorite original recipes, loved by guests at two of the restaurants I headed the kitchen of.



National Origin: American

Serves: 12

Estimated Time: Over 2 Hours

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

Filling:

24 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 1/4 cups real maple syrup - DO NOT USE PANCAKE SYRUP!
4 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp AP flour
pinch salt
6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

Bacon Brittle:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
Chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and make the crust first.

For the crust:

Butter a 9-10 inch spring form pan. Combine all the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The mixture should look like wet sand and hold together when pressed into your hand. Press the crust mix into the bottom of the spring form pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the filling:

Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and place it in the bowl of the stand mixer to come up to room temperature. Once it is up to temperature beat it with the paddle attachment until it is light and fluffy. With the mixer on low slowly pour in the maple syrup. Once the syrup is combined turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the ricotta, vanilla, salt, and flour and beat on medium for 3-4 minutes to combine. Remove from the stand and fold in the chopped bacon. Wrap the spring form pan in 3 large sheets of aluminum foil to cover the bottom and up the sides – make sure it is covered well so no water can seep in. Pour in the filling. Place the cheesecake in a shallow roasting pan and fill it with enough hot water to come half way up the sides. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours – the middle should still be trembling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the water bath. After 30 minutes remove from the water bath, unwrap, and run a knife around the edge to loosen. Chill for at least 4 hours or over night before portioning and serving. DO NOT WRAP IN PLASTIC UNTIL COMPLETELY COOL!

For the bacon brittle:

Place a baking sheet in the oven at 350 to warm. Place the butter and sugar in a small heavy bottom sauce pot over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves into the melted butter. It will look like the caramel is breaking but just keep cooking and stirring it constantly and it will come together. Once the mixture is smooth and it becomes a light tan color add the chopped bacon and continue cooking until it becomes a medium caramel color. Remove from the heat. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and pour the bacon caramel over the warmed sheet be very careful the caramel will be extremely hot. Spread the caramel out in an even layer and allow it to cool for about 2 minutes. If using, sprinkle to chocolate chips on top and allow them to melt then spread the chocolate in an even layer over the brittle. Cool completely in the refrigerator if it will fit, otherwise just allow it to cool on the counter. Once it is cool and hardened break it up into pieces. Store in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer. It makes a yummy treat all by itself!

*Make some fresh whipped cream to serve with the cheesecake.

Beat together 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 3 tbsp powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

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