Cheesecake Brle

-- a smooth, creamy center, a crisp caramel topping and a buttery crust --

16 oz. cream cheese                              I Tbs. vanilla paste*
1/4 cup plus 4 Tbs. sugar                        I cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. sour cream                                  4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 2 eggs and cooled
1/4 cup heavy cream                              2 Tbs. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325F; have a pot of boiling water ready. 
Prepare pan(s):  In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and brown sugar; stir until blended and divide mixture among four mini-springform pans. With fingers, pat mixture evenly onto bottoms.
In bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and sour cream; beat on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, heavy cream and vanilla paste; beat until smooth. 
Divide cream cheese mixture among pans. Line outside of pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny-side out; arrange them in a baking pan. Add boiling water to fill baking pan halfway up sides of springform pans. Bake until filling is set, 35-40 min. 
Refrigerate at least 3 hours.   Just before serving, unmold cheesecakes and sprinkle one tablespoon sugar over each surface. With a kitchen torch, move flame continuously in small circles around surface until sugar melts, bubbles and lightly browns. 

Makes 4 mini-cheesecakes or one regular cheesecake.

(Above recipe was adapted from an ad for mini-cheesecake pans and, of course, kitchen torches, in a Williams-Sonoma catalog.)


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