Since we've nixed the baking (even of the crust), you save tons of time; you don't have to wait for the cheesecake to cool out of the oven. Make the cheesecake up to 3 days ahead, but prepare the caramel shortly before serving. It hardens quickly to a yummy praline-like texture.
Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2013
1. To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground. With motor running, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter to cracker crumbs through food chute; process until blended. Place crumb mixture in a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray; press evenly into bottom of pan. Freeze 20 minutes or until firm.
2. To prepare cheesecake, combine cheeses, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and crème fraîche in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Combine 3 tablespoons cold water and gelatin; let stand 2 minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Heat milk in a small saucepan to 180° (do not boil). Stir gelatin mixture into hot milk, stirring well. Beat gelatin mixture into cheese mixture. Pour cheese mixture into prepared crust; chill 2 hours or until set.
3. To prepare the caramel, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and next 3 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir with a whisk just until sugar melts. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes (do not stir). Remove pan from heat. Stir in bourbon and toasted pecans. Cool slightly.
4. Slice cheesecake into 16 wedges. Place 1 wedge on each of 16 plates; drizzle 1 tablespoon caramel over each serving.
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