Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baileys Cheesecake Tart with a Jameson Salted Caramel Sauce

I am warning you now - this is going to be a LONG post. If you make it to the end, you will be reward with boozy cheesecake. Bet you can't say no to that.

I knew I wanted to make something extra special and extra boozy to complete my St. Patty's day menu, but what I originally wanted to do, I couldn't do. This whole giving up chocolate thing for lent is really getting in the way of me baking what I really want to. Good thing there is only 16 more days to go! It's not like I'm counting or anything. Here is what I really wanted to make:

  1. Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes - Guinness chocolate cupcakes filled with a Jameson chocolate ganache and topped with a Baileys buttercream frosting.
  2. Green Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - A fun twist on red velvet.
  3. Chocolate Guinness Cheesecake - Chocolate crust, chocolate filling. SO MUCH CHOCOLATE.

Since all of those had chocolate in one way or another (stupid cupcakes have cocoa powder in them!), I had to come up with something else. I knew I either wanted to use Baileys or Jameson, but I just wasn't sure how to combine them both so it wouldn't be so over powering. At first, I thought a Baileys cupcake with Jameson buttercream frosting would be nice, but then thought that might be too overpowering. Jameson is good on the rocks, but on top of a cupcake? I just wasn't feeling it. It look me a couple of days, but then I came up with the perfect idea - Baileys cheesecake with a Jameson Salted Caramel on top! How boozy woozy delicious does that sound? Totally amazing if you ask me.

Now, let me just say, I have only made one, maybe two cheesecakes in my whole life. I am not a cheesecake expert and I am not even going to pretend that I am. Ryan is SO the cheesecake master. One of the first times I ever met him, he was making cheesecake. I knew right then and there that a man who knows how to make cheesecake is a keeper! Guess I must have been right since he's still around after all these years . He seriously makes the BEST CHEESECAKE EVER. Last year for my birthday he made the most mouthwatering white chocolate cheesecake I'd ever put in my mouth. I don't know what he does, but it's so darn good. He says I put crack in some of my recipes, but I am pretty sure he puts crack in his cheesecakes. Since he is the cheesecake master, I thought I would challenge myself and see if I could make one that would meet his approval. The only problem was that I forgot I don't own a spring form pan. Of all the other kitchen tools I own, you'd like I would have one, but let me remind you - I have only made a cheesecake once or twice! If I remember right, I think I even had to borrow one from my mom last time I made one. Maybe I should get one. Someday.  I wasn't going to out out and get one so I figured I would just use what I had in my stack of baking pans- a tart pan! A few of the cookbooks I have mention making cheesecake in a tart so I was ready to give it a go. Why not, right?

Let's be real here - the best part of the cheesecake is the crust. Buttery, graham crackery goodness. I made my crust a little on the thicker side, placed it in the pan and baked it for about 10 minutes to firm. This prebake helps my luscious and boozy Baileys filling from oozing out or soaking into the the crust. When I first tried to pat the crust into the pan, something didn't seem right. It was still crumbly and needed more butter. I dumped it all out and started again. More butter did the trick. It always does. At least Paula Deen would agree. The filling made more then what would fit in the tart pan (if you had a deep dish one or didn't make the crust as thick, I'm sure it would have fit), but I made it work. I placed it in the oven and baked for about 40 minutes. When I opened the oven it was puffy and cracked around the edges. I was hoping for a smooth cheesecake, but since I filled it too much, this was probably my fault. Oh well. Just don't fill yours too much! After cooling for about an hour, the cheesecake fell and even had the perfect edge for holding all the caramel. Step one = successful.

Since I've already written you an essay, I'll keep it short for the caramel. It's easy to make, but as soon as it starts to get golden, watch it closely. Very closely. It will go from light to almost burnt in a matter of seconds. Once it gets brown, remove and add cream. Just make sure to use a pot holder so you don't burn yourself. Once the cream hits the hot sugar, it will bubble and splatter. Trust me, it hurts! Once the caramel cooled, I tried it out and whoa was it boozy. You should have seen Ryan's face when he tried this! Not that it's a bad thing, it needed something to cut the whiskey edge. Salt! I added a bit of cracked sea salt and it was perfect. There is something about that salty sweet combination that you can't go wrong with. Step two = successful.

Step One + Step Two = totally awesome boozy cheesecake tart. You could totally taste all the components and it seemed to get even boozier the next day. Although this once screams St. Patty's day, I say this would be great for any special occasion. Baileys and Jameson make everything better!

yummy yummy

I used my mini food processor to make the crumbs, but you can use whatever you have. Rolling pin or a heavy pan will work too.

use a cup, measuring cup or mason jar to really pack in the crust.

adding in that Baileys!

I filled the pan a little too much. ps. Use a cookie sheet to transport. SO MUCH easier.

I told you it got puffy. This made me kinda nervous.

Everything was okay once it cooled down. Phew!

Caramel ingredients

let the sugar boil - NO STIRRING

see how brown it gets. don't get it get past this point or it will be burnt.


Baileys Cheesecake Tart with a Jameson Salted Caramel Sauce  

For Crust
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
18 cinnamon graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar

For Cheesecake Filling
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream (no low fat here!), room temperature
1 1/4 cups Baileys (Irish cream)
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar

For Jameson Salted Caramel
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons Jameson (Irish whiskey)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make crust, place graham crackers in a food processor (or a ziploc and use a heavy pan or rolling pin) and pulse until they are fine. In a small bowl mix crumbs and butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar until well combined. Press mixture into the tart pan (place tart pan on large cookie sheet for easy transportation to the oven) so there is an even layer on the bottom and along the sides. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until lightly brown.  Let cool and prepare filling. 

In a stand mixer, mix together the softened cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Add sugar and then slowly pour in the Baileys. Mix until combined and scrape down bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Then add in eggs, one at a time. Pour into cooled crust and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the filling is firm, but still wiggly in the middle. If you are not sure your cheesecake is done, you can always take a knife and if it comes out clean, it's done. Let cool for an hour and then place in the fridge to chill over night.

For the caramel, add the sugar and water into a large pot on the stove. Over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a simmer and cook (do not stir, but you can shake the pan once or twice) until it becomes brown - about 20 minutes. Once the mixture has caramelized, whisk in the cream and Jameson. Place in a bowl and cool. 

Once the cheesecake and caramel have cooled, add the caramel to the top of the cheesecake and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Slice and enjoy!

This cheesecake needs at least one full day in the fridge for all of the flavors to combine, so make this the day before you plan to serve and enjoy this delicious dessert. Also, if there are any leftovers, they freeze great. Just slice it up, wrap it up and you have a great dessert to pull out when you want it. I have about four slices in my freezer that are calling my name right now.


  1. O.M.G. I'll save this for a special occasion. Like the next time I bike 40 miles in one day. Looks so worth it, though!

  2. totally worth it. so worth it that I'll run all the way up to Oregon (literally run, ok, I lied - mostly walk) so I can have two pieces with with you! :)

  3. i think your caramel recipe is wrong. i tried it twice and all i got was a light brown colored water. i had to use a recipe from somewhere else.

    1. hmm, I wonder what happened here. I have made this caramel twice and have had no problems at all. Did you let the sugar and water cook down long enough without stirring? I will try this caramel again and see how it turns out and if the recipe needs to be adjusted. Happy St. Patty's day!

    2. i tried it twice. the second time, i let the sugar and water cook for nearly 40 minutes and nothing ever happened. i think there may be too much water in your recipe. the one i ended up using was 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. the sugar carmelized quickly.

      overall it's a great recipe and tastes great!

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  5. This looks wonderful! I'm curious about the tart pan, as I've never used one. What size is it? And how did you get the cheesecake out to plate it? Is it a spring form pan? Thanks! Angela

  6. I too would like to know the size of the pan. Most tart pans are far too shallow for this. What are the dimensions? Is it 9 inch and how deep?