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Dulce de leche Cheesecake

Servings: 16
Dulce de leche (the name means "sweet milk" or sometimes referred to as "sweet candy") is a traditional dairy product from Argentina. It is used as a topping for ice cream or fresh fruit, like bananas, as a filling for cakes, cheesecakes and cookies, or as a simply decadent spread for toast. Thick and intensely flavored, it should be slightly warmed to make it pourable, for topping ice cream. It makes a great flavoring for crème brûlée, rice pudding, bread pudding, crème anglaise, and ice cream.

In this wonderful dessert, dulce de leche is used to give the cheesecake a delicious caramel flavor.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed vanilla wafers
3 tbsp. butter, melted

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (24 oz. total)
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ready-made or homemade Dulce de leche sauce* (see recipe below for Homemade Dulce de leche)

For Serving:
Extra Dulce de leche sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Mix crust ingredients together, and press into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

3. Reset oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).

4. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until well blended.

5. Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add Dulce de Leche sauce and stir until well combined.

6. Pour plain batter over crust. Top with Dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula.

7. Bake in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving. If desired, serve each slice drizzled with a little bit of dulce de leche sauce, or pass around a bowl of dulce de leche sauce for guest's to help themselves.

Makes 16 servings.

Homemade Dulce de leche

Makes about 2 cups

4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. butter (optional)

In a heavy bottomed 5 to 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the whole milk, the sugar and the butter (if using) until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Stir in the baking soda. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally with a flexible spatula, until mixture is golden brown and reduced to about 2 cups, about 1 1/2 hours. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard residue. Let cool. Use immediately or refrigerate for later. Before serving, reheat in a saucepan on medium-low heat, or heat slightly in the microwave to make it pourable.

Makes about 2 cups.

Date: October 14, 2004