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How to Make a Pecan Pie Cheesecake

How to Make a Pecan Pie Cheesecake

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Pecan Pie Cheesecake is the ultimate dessert that combines two classic favorites into one decadent treat. This dessert features a crunchy graham cracker crust, a creamy cheesecake filling, and a rich brown sugar pecan topping. Perfect for holidays, special occasions, or whenever you’re craving something sweet, this Pecan Pie Cheesecake is sure to impress.

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Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 113 g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 240 g Graham Cracker Crumbs (approximately 16 full-sheet graham crackers)
  • 75 g Granulated Sugar

For the Cheesecake

  • 904 g Full-Fat Brick Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 200 g Brown Sugar (dark preferred)
  • 240 g Full-Fat Sour Cream, at room temperature
  • 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

For the Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

  • 180 g Pecan Halves
  • 56 g Unsalted Butter
  • 100 g Brown Sugar (dark preferred)
  • 90 ml Heavy Cream
  • 15 ml Light Corn Syrup
  • A Pinch of Salt (less than 1/8 tsp)

Optional

  • Brown Sugar Whipped Cream (see note below)

Instructions

1. Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Mix until the crumbs are well coated and the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, ensuring an even layer. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust firmly.
  4. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then remove and let it cool completely.

2. Make the Cheesecake Filling

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the room-temperature cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the brown sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
  4. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice (if using), and ground cinnamon. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and spread it evenly.

3. Bake the Cheesecake

  1. Place a large roasting pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with hot water to create steam (this helps prevent cracks in the cheesecake).
  2. Place the springform pan on the middle rack above the water bath.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for 55-65 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly.
  4. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to set completely.

4. Prepare the Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream, light corn syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the pecan halves.
  5. Allow the topping to cool slightly before pouring it over the chilled cheesecake.

5. Serve

  1. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and transfer it to a serving plate.
  2. Pour the cooled brown sugar pecan topping over the cheesecake, spreading it evenly.
  3. Slice and serve the cheesecake with optional brown sugar whipped cream if desired.

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream (Optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream, cold
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken.
  2. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  4. Serve dollops of whipped cream with each slice of cheesecake.

Tips and Tricks

1. Room Temperature Ingredients

Using room-temperature ingredients for the cheesecake filling ensures a smooth and creamy texture. Plan ahead and take out the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs from the refrigerator at least an hour before you start baking.

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2. Water Bath

A water bath helps to prevent cracks in your cheesecake by creating a moist baking environment. Make sure to wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping into the crust.

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3. Cooling Slowly

Cooling the cheesecake slowly in the oven prevents drastic temperature changes, which can cause cracks. Letting it cool in the oven with the door ajar helps to gradually bring the temperature down.

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4. Storing the Cheesecake

Store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will keep well for up to 5 days.

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Variations

1. Chocolate Pecan Pie Cheesecake

For a chocolate twist, add 1/2 cup of melted chocolate to the cheesecake batter before baking. Top with a drizzle of chocolate ganache along with the pecan topping.

2. Bourbon Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Add 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon to the brown sugar pecan topping for a rich, boozy flavor that complements the caramel notes of the brown sugar.

3. Maple Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Replace the light corn syrup in the pecan topping with pure maple syrup for a delicious maple pecan pie cheesecake variation.

4. Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Use gluten-free graham crackers for the crust and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free to make this dessert suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make this cheesecake ahead of time?

Yes, this cheesecake can be made a day in advance. In fact, allowing it to chill overnight enhances the flavors and ensures a firm texture.

2. How do I prevent my cheesecake from cracking?

To prevent cracks, ensure that your ingredients are at room temperature, avoid overmixing the batter, use a water bath, and allow the cheesecake to cool gradually in the oven before refrigerating.

3. Can I freeze Pecan Pie Cheesecake?

Yes, you can freeze this cheesecake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

4. What can I use instead of graham cracker crumbs for the crust?

You can use crushed digestive biscuits, vanilla wafers, or even gingersnaps for a different flavor.

5. Can I use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream?

For the best texture and flavor, it’s recommended to use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream. However, you can use low-fat versions if you prefer, but the cheesecake might be slightly less creamy.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake is a delightful fusion of two beloved desserts, offering a rich, creamy filling, a crunchy graham cracker crust, and a decadent pecan topping. Perfect for special occasions or as a treat for yourself, this cheesecake is sure to impress. With detailed instructions, tips, and variations, you can customize this dessert to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. Enjoy baking and indulging in this heavenly Pecan Pie Cheesecake!

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