Turtle Cheesecake with Alder Smoked Salt and Bourbon Caramel

Cheesecake is without a doubt, one of the more involved preparations for a dessert. It’s difficult to make one from start to finish a single day, but all the best things take time and effort. Although that’s true, feel free to make this tasty caramel and drizzle it on whatever you like if you’re in a time crunch. The depth of flavor created by the smoked salt and bourbon is the perfect addition to an affogato dessert, brownies, or a standalone turtle of course!



  • 4 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, room temperature 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 12 oz. Biscoff cookies
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
  • Chocolate sauce, (either homemade or store bought is okay!)

Caramel sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1⁄2 cup double cream
  • 2 tsp PWS Alder Smoked Sea Salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. Bourbon
  1. To prepare your pan, you’ll need a 9” springform pan, tin foil and a roasting dish. Start by wrapping your springform pan with tin foil, this will help with even heat distribution around the pan while the cake bakes. Once this is complete place your springform dish aside to fill with your crust. Make sure you have an oven rack positioned in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a 2 qt saucepan warm the sugar on medium heat. As it begins to melt, keep an eye on the pan as things will start to happen quickly. The sugar may clump up, but continue to stirring, you’re on the right track!
  3. When the clumps have dissolved, remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter. Once the butter has been mixed in, pour in the cream, then salt, then bourbon respectively. Give it a quick taste to make sure it is flavors are balanced to your desired intensity. Allow to cool.
  4. In a food processor, grind your cookies to a crumb. You can achieve the same result by placing them in a gallon sized ziplock baggie and rolling them with a rolling pin if you do not have a food processor. Once the cookies are ground, transfer to a mixing bowl and add in the melted butter, vanilla and sugar. Mix until well combined.
  5. Fill your springform pan with the crumb crust mix and tamp it down in an even layer. Spread the chopped pecans across the bottom. Drizzle caramel the top of the pecans, ~ 1⁄2 cup. Drizzle chocolate sauce over top as well and place the prepared springform pan in the roasting dish. Boil a full kettle of water.
  6. Prepare a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer with beater attachments. First cream together the cream cheese and sugar. When well combined, add in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla respectively. Lastly, beat in eggs one at a time until well combined.

Tip: It’s very easy to overmix a cheesecake filling and when you do, its grounds for bubbling and cracking at the top once it’s in the oven. Since all of your ingredients are room temperature, everything should combine very easily. Try to have all your ingredients ready to go to add one after the other, further preventing overmixing!

7. Pour the filling over top of the crust and pecans that you prepared previously and level everything out with a spatula. Pour the whole kettle of boiling water into the roasting pan and place the entire pan with the cheesecake in the oven to bake.

  1. The cheesecake will bake for approximately 45 minutes – an hour. Once the cake finishes, it will not be completely solid. When you tap the side of the pan, there should be a “collective wobble”, rather than several “jiggles” in the filling. When you achieve this, turn the oven off, and vent the door to allow the cheesecake to begin cooling slowly.
  2. After about an hour, remove the cake from the water bath and allow the cake to cool down to room temperature. When room temperature is achieved, remove the cake from the pan and allow it to fully set in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. Once your cake is set, it’ll be ready to decorate! Feel free to get creative with the design of your toppings using pecans, chocolate, and remaining caramel sauce for the prefect turtle interpretation. Finish with a little sprinkle of smoked salt right on top of your cake, I promise you, it’s delicious! Your cake will keep for about 3-4 days after preparation.

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