Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Alfajor Crust (electric pressure cooker recipe)

Recently I joined a Facebook group of people who have the same Instant Pot multicooker I bought a little while ago, and since then I've been seeing pictures of cheesecake many times a day! I hadn't made one in a really long time, partly because of the calories and partly because the process is a long one, but I thought I'd give it a go now that I'm learning how to use the pressure cooker! It cooks in less than an hour total. You have to get a 7" pan to fit it inside the cooker, but that's much better than using my other 10" pan, calorie-wise! It's best to use a springform pan or another pan with a removable bottom, 3 inches or more deep. 

I had the idea of making a dulce de leche cheesecake, but it seemed wrong somehow to use a graham cracker crust. You could definitely do that, though - it'd be delicious, too. I decided instead to use the cornstarch shortbread cookies that are used for Alfajores de Maizena, a traditional sandwich cookie with dulce de leche in the middle and coconut on the sides. Working from David Lebovitz's dulce de leche cheesecake recipe and cheesecake instructions from, I came up with something I think is pretty good! What I brought to the teachers' room has disappeared, at least ;)

Before you start, bring cream cheese, eggs and dulce de leche to room temp. It's really important in this case so you don't have a lumpy or overbeaten batter. 

As I said, you could use graham crackers, or you could use some store-bought shortbread cookies. These are the alfajor cookies from the link above.

Put 8 oz of the cookies into a food processor and pulse until they turn into a coarse sand (if you don't want to wash out a food processor, put them in a ziploc bag and smash them into bits.)

Add 2 Tbsp melted butter and a small pinch of salt. Mix until uniform in the food processor or in a bowl. 

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides (y'know, halfway-ish). Set the pan in the fridge until the cheese part is ready.  

I think next time I'll add a thin layer of dulce de leche on top of this for extra flavor!
Cream in a mixer on medium speed two 8 oz packages of cream cheese with 1/3 cup granulated or raw sugar. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla extract

One at a time, beat in two eggs, scraping down the sides after each addition. 

Then, beat in 1/2 cup dulce de leche! In Mexican markets you might find it under the name cajeta, but they definitely wouldn't call it that in Argentina. This one looks kinda lumpy 'cause I made it at home, also in the pressure cooker, but it'll mix in evenly. 

Resist the temptation to eat all the batter with a spoon, because raw egg yolks. blah blah blah. Pour the batter over the crust in the pan, smoothing out the top. Make a sling out of tin foil to pull it out of the gizmo more easily. 

To make the sling, tear off an 18" piece of foil and fold in in thirds. This one is a little too short, but I was able to use the trivet handles to pull it out. 

Cover the pan with foil. Put two cups of water in the bottom of the pot (not in the cake!), then put in a trivet to stand the cake on, and finally, the pan. 

Lock up the pan and set it to cook at high pressure for 27 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for ten minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure. 

 Carefully remove it from the pot and take off the foil. Let cool to room temperature, and then make the glaze. 

Melt together 1/3 cup dulce de leche and 1 Tbsp milk or cream, whisking just until combined. Pour on top of the cheesecake. 
Sprinkle some sweetened shredded coconut (unsweetened is fine, as I found out when my market only had that in stock) in a ring around the edge of the top. 

Refrigerate the cheesecake at least one more hour or overnight. Enjoy with coffee and good friends!

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