Monday, November 21, 2011


I find baking desserts like cakes and pies very intimidating. 

I'm much more comfortable baking cookies, cupcakes, whoopee pies, and other desserts made in batches. Making things in batches allows the cook to make slight adjustments so that by the end, the dessert is baked to perfection. With cake or pie, you just don't know what you are going to get. In addition to not being able to make adjustments, you also can't taste it ahead of serving. So, say you are bringing dessert to a friend's house, there is a chance it might be terrible, and you won't know till you get there and serve it to your unsuspecting friends. I find it all very intimidating.

Thankfully, this super easy and totally delicious Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie didn't disappoint at a dinner with our friends, Christianne and Chris.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie (from Joy the Baker)
Makes one 9-inch pie

For the Crust
  • 2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake
  • 1 pound (2 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
For the Caramel
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Place two rack in the upper and bottom third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You’ll need a 9-inch pie plate and a 9×13-inch pan for boiling water.

To make the crust, place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a fine crumb.  If you don’t have a food processor you can crumble cookies in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin.  Once you’ve created a fine crumb, add brown sugar, salt, and butter.  Toss together, moistening all of the ginger snap crumbs.  Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and press with fingers until sides and bottom are evenly coated with crust.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheesecake filling.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Place a tea kettle of water on the stove top to boil.  We’re going to add hot water to the 9×13-inch pan to place under the baking cheesecake.

To make the cheesecake filling:  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in salt and vanilla extract until well incorporated.    Add eggs, beating one at a time between each addition.  Once creamy and smooth, slowly beat in the cream, beating on medium high until creamy and luscious.  Add lemon zest if using.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the prepared cheesecake crust.

Place 9×13-inch pan in the bottom shelf  of the hot oven.  Carefully pout in hot water, and fill to 1/2 full.  Push into oven.

Place cheesecake on the upper oven shelf.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until cheesecake is browned and puffed.  When cheesecake is puffed and doesn’t have  loose giggle in the center, turn oven off and use a towel to prop the oven open slightly.  Let cheesecake rest for another 45 minutes in the cooling oven.  Remove from the oven and cool completely, for at least 4 hours.  Overnight is best.

While the cheesecake cools, make the caramel so it can cool as well.

To make the caramel, add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice.  Bring to a boil and allow to brown.  Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream and butter.  Mixture will boil and foam.  Stir well.  Add salt and stir well to incorporate.  Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok.  Place in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

Pour the cooled caramel over the cooled cheesecake,  return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt then slice and serve.

For a potluck dinner at friends, what do you bring for dessert?


  1. I am pretty much obsessed with all things salted caramel. Feel free to bring me baked goods THIS WEEK. Yay, can't wait :)

  2. This was so incredibly tasty!!

  3. So if you had a slice, and chris had a slice, and erin had a slice.. who ate the rest of it?

    *hangs head*

  4. That salted caramel topping looks amazing. I'm actually making a salted caramel dessert for Thanksgiving this year.

  5. I love salted caramel thanksgiving. For potlucks I like bringing bite-sized or mini desserts :)