This is my fairly quick, but certainly very easy version of the gorgeous After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings: chocolatey biscuit base with layers of luscious cheesecake with a hint of treacle, salted caramel and finished with a soft dark chocolate ganache. A very naughty, but once-in-a-while treat!
They can be made a couple of days in advance and they freeze beautifully.
These desserts take about 30 minutes to make up, plus time chilling once assembled. I could, of course, have spent a little more time flattening each layer before adding the next to give more well-defined layers, but I quite like the non-precise effect! Mind you, I have made these and rather than go for layers, have simply marbled the caramel and cheesecake, giving a lovely swirl effect.
Use bought components or make your own
Bought biscuits (any type to be honest: digestives, rich tea, even bourbons) and bought caramel are ideal here. With bought caramel, about 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt per 200g caramel gives a good salted caramel flavour without being over-powering.
I have, however, given a link to my recipe for shortbread and for salted caramel at the bottom of the page if you want to make either of them: each is easy to make and tastes great.
And I always have a jar of salted caramel made up for emergencies: it’s the done thing! Surely?
Layers of wicked goodness!
I have made several batches of these (they are just too good not to make!). Sometimes I make them in ramekins but often I make them in mini loose-bottomed Victoria sandwich tins, with a strip acetate around the inside of each hole to keep the layers in place while the dessert gets assembled. They then pop out easily and the acetate gets peeled off. There is, I think, something nice about having a dessert out and proud on the plate rather than inside a container.
However, layering up the dessert in ramekins or small glasses is the easiest approach. Having bought many Gü puddings over the years, I have a large stack of their brilliant glass ramekins: and it is quite fun, if a touch cheeky, using my version of their dessert in their ramekins!!
Ideally, chill each layer to firm it up more before adding the next layer, but you can just go for it in one go. If going for a marbled/ripple effect, very gently fold the caramel with the cheesecake without combining them too much, and then spoon over the bases.
Recipe: rich salted caramel cheesecake desserts – makes 8
- 100g shortbread biscuits (or any you have to hand), crushed
- 40g butter, melted
- 30g dark chocolate, chopped fairly small
(1) Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and the dark chocolate until they just come together. The heat of the butter will melt most of the chocolate which is ideal.
(2) Spoon into the dishes/ramekins/tins and pat down lightly: you don’t want a solid base. I would go for about a heaped tablespoon per dessert. Refrigerate to firm up.
If making shortbread, the recipe for it, along with a recipe for caramel, is at the bottom of the page. But bought biscuits and bought caramel are perfect.
Sometimes I go for the cheesecake layer straight onto the base and then topping with the salted caramel; at other times I put the cheesecake on the salted caramel layer: it depends how the mood takes me at the time!
- 200g marscapone
- 200g cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons treacle* (see below) or even honey
(1) Simply beat the ingredients together. Use about 3 tablespoons per serving.
(2) Chill while you make the ganache.
* this easy treacle adds a lovely flavour, with more depth than using just golden syrup. Simply melt together equal quantities of golden syrup and muscovado (light or dark!) and let is just simmer gently for a few moments, stirring the mixture to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Leave this gorgeously sticky mass to cool. You can also do this in the microwave.
I have sometimes made up a fairly large batch of this treacle and stored it in a jar in the cupboard to use as the mood takes me!
Salted caramel layer
(1) Spoon about a tablespoonful of salted caramel per dessert over the cheesecake. Or even over the base layer, if you want to vary the order of the layers and have this wonderfully sticky gooey treat near the bottom.
If the caramel you are using is too runny and you want a firmer caramel, particularly if the caramel layer is on the base, mixing it with some melted chocolate will do the trick, and stops it from oozing out. White chocolate doesn’t change the colour of the caramel so much, but any type works. Go for about 30g chocolate per 100g caramel.
Chocolate ganache layer
- 120ml double cream, heated until it just simmers
- 60g dark chocolate, chopped into smallish chunks
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon espresso coffee, optional
(1) Put the chocolate in a small bowl and pour over the hot cream. Leave for a minute and then stir to give a smooth glossy mixture. Stir in the salt. You can also add just a little strong and cooled espresso coffee if you want. Leave to cool but not set: if needs to still be fairly runny.
(2) Use about 1 tablespoon of this ganache per dessert, pouring it over the cheesecake layer. It won’t set firm: it will be more like a slightly set sauce, which is what you want here.
I often use some mini golden chocolate balls, scattering them on before the ganache topping has set, with a light dusting of edible gold lustre. But a little edible gold leaf place on top looks stunning.
But keep it as simple or as elaborate as you want.