1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped unsalted cashews, toasted
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup unsalted cashews, toasted
1Preheat oven to 350°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Wrap foil securely around pan. Place on a baking sheet.
2In a small bowl, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cashews, confectioners' sugar and salt. Press onto the bottom and 1/2 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325°.
3In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs and cream; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place springform pan in a larger baking pan; add 1 in. hot water to larger pan.
4Bake until center is just set and top appears dull, 65 to 75 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight, covering when completely cooled.
5Before serving cheesecake, combine sugar and water in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and boil 2 minutes. Uncover; boil until mixture is golden brown and a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage), about 8 minutes.
6Remove from heat. Stir in cream until smooth, about 5 minutes (mixture will appear lumpy at first). Add cashews; cool to lukewarm.
7Remove cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon cooled caramel over cheesecake. Refrigerate leftovers.
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 65 min. + chilling
Makes 16 servings
1 piece: 507 calories, 36g fat (18g saturated fat), 138mg cholesterol, 248mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 1g fiber), 9g protein.