It's all about proportions for me. I like 2 parts frosting to 1 part cake (and no, I didn't accidentally write that backwards). I like 3 times more chocolate chips in my cookies than what's called for in a typical recipe. When it comes to apple pie, there exists a perfect bite, consisting of 45% innards, 20% crust, and 35% vanilla ice cream.
As far as cheesecake goes, I'm more a fan of the crust than the actual cake. That's one reason why this particular recipe appealed to me so much. Another reason is that it makes use of yogurt, which has come to be one of my staple refrigerated items.
Of course I like to eat yogurt as a snack, either on its own or mixed with granola (17%) and fruit (23%), but I've recently come to appreciate it more as an ingredient in things like muffins and quick breads--it tends to add a moistness and flavor that buttermilk and sour cream can't seem to contribute.
Right now, my yogurt of choice is Chobani. It's thick, it's natural, it's healthy, and the people behind it are passionate and dedicated to bringing us the best possible product. They make many flavors of both fat-free and low-fat Greek yogurt, and I've yet to be disappointed by any.
The original recipe for this luscious caramel cheesecake called for sour cream, but on a whim, I used Chobani's plain 2% Greek yogurt instead. The resulting cake was so smooth and rich and decadent, I have no need to try it again with sour cream for the sake of comparison. When something this close to perfection is made, why mess with it?
For me, the ratio of crust to filling is just right, especially since the crust is laden with toasted pecans. The cherry on top is the amazing caramel sauce that gets added at the end, assuming you have any left after taste-testing
*This post is sponsored by Chobani.
Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, Chobani-style
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely-chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups light or dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (Chobani is oh-so-nice, and conveniently, the perfect size!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup pecan pieces
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy cream
Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 3 or 4 layers of heavy-duty foil. To make the crust, combine ingredients and blend until a uniform dough is made. Spread to the edges of the pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Allow to cool.
Heat oven to 450°.
To make the cheesecake, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy; beat in brown sugar until light and well-blended. Slowly beat in the eggs, then the yogurt and vanilla. Beat just until well-blended. Pour into the prepared crust. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Place in the oven and add about 1/2 inch of hot water.
Reduce heat to 325° and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. Turn oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour longer. Place the cheesecake on a rack to cool to room temperature. Remove the pan sides.
To prepare the sauce, first heat the 5 tablespoons of butter and pecan pieces in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the butter is lightly browned and pecans are aromatic. Add the brown sugar to the butter and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cream until thoroughly mixed.