Caramel Cashew Cheesecake
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 pinch salt
4 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
In a 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 a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350ºF for
15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325ºF.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs and cream; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325ºF for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer.
In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover; boil until mixture is golden brown and a candy thermometer reads 300ºF (hard-cracked stage), about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir in cream until smooth, about 5 minutes (mixture will appear lumpy at first). Add cashews; cool to lukewarm. Carefully spoon over cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.