Let’s just call this one like it is. Dessert level: RIDICULOUS. I mean, what else could you call a dessert that’s white chocolate, cheesecake, poached pear, bourbon, and butterscotch all rolled into one? Well, delicious I suppose.
I’ve recently rediscovered cheesecake, and I just have to say there’s something borderline magical about that tasty, tangy filling that allows it to be paired with anything. And everything. Is there anything it can’t be paired with? Really? Really really?
Didn’t think so.
And now that I’ve started bringing cheesecake back into my life, I’ve realized there are absolutely zero good reasons why it shouldn’t be smothered in bourbon butterscotch sauce. ZERO. GOOD. REASONS.
Let that just sink in for a moment. Bourbon butterscotch sauce + cheesecake. <– THIS is taste bud heaven.
But deliciously boozy sauces aside, I want to take a moment to highlight the unsung hero of this recipe: the poached pears. The tender, juicy, bursting-with-fall-flavor poached pears. Wrap this cake in a sweater and hand it a cup of pumpkin spice latte, we just hit dessert level: FALL.
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. dark corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 oz salted butter, at room temp.
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 qt water
- 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 pears
- 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. powdered gelatin + ¼ cup boiling water
- 3½ oz white chocolate, melted
- ½ cup heavy cream, whipped
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- In a small pot, combine all of the bourbon butterscotch sauce ingredients, and cook over medium-low heat. Once the brown sugar has dissolved, continue cooking the sauce for about 15 more minutes, stirring frequently, until it coats the back of a spatula and has thickened and reduced. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. This sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
- Peel, halve, and core your pears. Be sure to use firm, slightly unripe pears so they don't become too soft during the poaching process. In a large pot, combine the water and sugar for the poached pears. Bring the mixture to a simmer/low boil, and add the pears once the sugar has dissolved. Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool in their juice.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for the graham cracker crust until smooth. Add the brown sugar and honey, and continue beating until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients for the crust and beat until it pulls away from the sides and clumps into a single ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days (depending on how far in advance you make it).
- On a lightly floured surface, work the dough for the crust with your hands until malleable. Roll the dough out on a piece of plastic wrap until it's slightly larger than your 14" x 5" pan. Gently flip the dough into the pan (a second person would be helpful here) and press it into the bottom and sides. Trim away any excess. Generously prick the bottom, and bake with pie weights for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the white chocolate and whipped cream, and gently fold in using a spatula. Add the cooled gelatin mixture and the ground cinnamon, and fold until just combined. Spread the cheesecake filling into your cooled graham cracker crust and top with your poached pears. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
- Top with the bourbon butterscotch sauce. You can also add some chopped almonds for a little extra crunch.