At the bakery, cheesecake was always a big seller. We used to make all different types too... dutch apple pie, cherry, blueberry, key lime, strawberry... you name it! Turtle cheesecake was very popular. It has the same ingredients that you find in turtle chocolates - pecans, caramel, and chocolate. Perfect combination!
Give yourself a full day before serving this after making. You want to make sure it's had plenty of time to chill. It's the perfect show-stopping dessert to really impress your friends.
Begin by crushing one package graham crackers. Sprinkle in 2 tsp sugar. Melt 1/2 cup butter and drizzle that in. Smoosh everything around in the ziploc to get all the graham crackers nice and coated.
In a mixing bowl, put 1/2 cup butter (softened) and 4 (count 'em...FOUR) 8 oz packages cream cheese (softened). Use the whisk attachment on your mixer to whip this together.
This is the kind of caramel you want to buy. You can find it down the aisle that has all the ice cream toppings.
Pour the batter into the springform pan on top of the graham cracker crust. Spread it evenly using a rubber spatula.
Tear off 6 long strips of foil. Fold one of the long edges a few times. Open it up. There will be 3 pieces of foil on one side, and 3 on the other.
Sit your cheesecake in the middle of the foil and wrap the pan. We're going to be steaming the cheesecake and don't want any water to get into our pan.
Sit the wrapped springform pan on a baking sheet that is filled with water. Bake at 325* (make sure you preheat the oven, please) for about an hour... hour and a half. Oven cook times vary so be sure to check for doneness. You want the center set, but not cracked. When it's done baking, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in there. We want to gradually cool this baby.
Once it's cooled in the oven, pull and set on the counter and let cool to room temp. Open up the foil too.
Leave your cheesecake sitting on the foil though. We're about to make a mess. LOL
Turn the oven to 450*. Toast some pecans. You know their done when you can smell them. That means the oils have released from the nut and have toasted it nicely.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
Now we're going to make the ganache. Heat 1 cup cream in a saucepan. Scald it. Meaning over medium heat heat it up until a skin forms on top. Don't let this boil!
While the cream heats up, measure out 2 cups chocolate chips and put in a bowl. I use standard semi sweet. The better the chocolate, obviously the better the ganache will be. So use what you like.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for a minute to soften the chocolate.
Begin stirring in a circular fashion using a rubber spatula. You don't want to let air into this so keep the spatula under the surface. Don't be tempted to lift it up and scrape sides and stuff.
This is what the ganache will turn into. A wonderful chocolate sauce! Mmmmm....
Pour the ganache on top of the cheesecake. Spread out using the spatula.
Use some more of the caramel sauce and drizzle it back and forth across the top of the nuts. This is why you want to keep the foil underneath because the caramel will drip over edge a little and will make a horrible mess of your counter.
Put the cheesecake in the fridge and chill overnight.
Just before serving, heat a thin blade up (like a boning knife) and run it along the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Open up the springform pan and remove the sides.
To serve, heat the blade of a butcher's knife under a hot tap. Dry the blade and quickly cut the slices. Whip up some whipped cream and serve on top and/or on the side.
If you want to really get fancy with it, drizzle some Hershey's chocolate syrup and the caramel on the plate before putting the cheesecake slice on it. Enjoy!