I can and do eat dulce de leche by the spoonful right out of the can. However, when I am feeling ambitious, I fold it into desserts. This dulce de leche cheesecake is sweet and creamy with a delicious chocolate glaze. It makes a great alternative to pie at Thanksgiving. And, you can make it gluten-free by using gluten-free graham crackers instead of regular graham crackers. (Adapted from Gourmet Today.)
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Makes 32 cheesecake squares
1 cup (3 1/2 oz) gluten-free or regular graham crackers, crumbled
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup whole milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (about 12 1/2 oz)*
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two opposite sides.
Finely grind graham crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
For filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, until well combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in dulce de leche gently, mixing thoroughly.
Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours before serving.
Two hours before serving, glaze cake.
For glaze: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 32 squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for neat squares.
Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.
*Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel)
You can find pre-made dulce de leche in the Spanish food section of most grocery stores or you can make it yourself. Simply pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double-boiler pan and cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.