Brown Sugar Cheesecake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

Source: Gourmet magazine - February 1998

Crust
1/3 cup pecans
16 thin chocolate wafer cookies
4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed dark brown sugar

Topping
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Accompaniment
Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool.

In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side.

Make filling: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in Bourbon, vanilla extract and brown sugar until just combined. Pour filling into crust and put springform pan in a baking pan. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in springform pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

Make topping: In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop spoonsful of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in springform pan on rack.

Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days.

Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Serve cake with sauce.

Serves 12.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm. Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

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