I had heard about bacon cheesecake from a friend who had purchased one from New Skete Monastery and described it as heavenly. I then prevailed upon Michelle to make me one for my birthday.
What I like about this recipe from Bacon Goddess is that there is bacon (and bacon grease) in the crust, bacon in the cheese cake and even candied bacon crumbled on the top. Doesn’t that sound awesome? It certainly tastes good! Here it is, with only some slight alterations, as the candied bacon is actually just gilding the lily.
10 strips of bacon (choose thick sliced as fatty bacon is not very good for this)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons bacon grease*
24 oz cream cheese (3 – 8oz packages) at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
This step can be done in advance: bake 6-8 bacon strips crispy enough to crumble well. Use a food processor to crumble the plain bacon very finely in one 2 strip set (for the crust) and a 4 strip set crumbled coarsely for the filling.
Grease a 9 inch springform pan, making sure to get it up the sides. Blend the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Melt the butter/bacon grease and slowly pour into the graham cracker/brown sugar mixture. Add the 2 strip pile of very finely crumbled bacon and mix well. Once it is completely combined, start pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides a bit.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 – 10 minutes or until nice and browned. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely, then grease the sides of the pan well above the crust.
Beat the softened cream cheese until it is creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well. Add the four strip pile of bacon and continue to beat until creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time and just beat well enough to blend – do NOT over beat or it will force too much air into the batter and cause the cake to fall when removed from the oven. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl regularly as you blend.
Pour your batter into the greased pan on top of the baked/cooled crust and tamp it down gently to settle the filling. Put it in the oven for 35 minutes. Place a pie dish filled about 2/3 full of water on the bottom rack while you bake your cheesecake.
When the timer goes off take out the cheesecake and run a very thin bladed knife carefully around the inside of the pan so it can pull away from the pan properly. Put it back in the oven, turn off the oven and crack the door. Let the cheesecake stay in the oven as it cools to finish the baking and prevent cracking, about 40 minutes.
Take it out and remove the springform sides now. Alternatively, let it chill in the fridge overnight before removing from the pan. In any event, let it chill at least three hours before eating.
*Author’s note – we made this with equal amounts of butter and bacon grease in the crust. I would recommend shifting the ratio’s a bit with a bit more butter than bacon grease, as the flavor got stronger the next day. I think the next time, I will 4 tablespoons butter to 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.