Pecan pie cheesecake – two amazing desserts rolled into one; the perfect way to shake up your Thanksgiving dinner!
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, but if we did then this pecan pie cheesecake is what I would want to have for dessert. It combines two of my favourite desserts into one – pecan pie and baked vanilla cheesecake; giving you the best of both worlds.
A smooth, creamy, not-too-sweet baked vanilla cheesecake (with a touch of brown sugar) is topped with a decadent layer of pecans in caramel sauce. The combination of the creamy, tangy cheesecake, crunchy nuts and silky, lightly salted caramel sauce is out of this world good!
The best thing is that it is make-ahead; both the cheesecake and caramel pecan topping can be made a day or two in advance (the cheesecake must be made at least the day before serving as it needs to chill overnight in the fridge). When it comes to serving you just need to turn out your cheesecake and gently rewarm the topping so that it is pourable then pour it over the cheesecake and serve. I used whole, toasted pecans for the topping, which I think looked really good, but it did make the cheesecake a little more tricky to slice so if you prefer then you can chop up the pecans instead.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 9 oz Graham crackers
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 2 Tbsp light brown soft sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, melted
- 35 oz full fat cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup full fat sour cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown soft sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 large eggs
Pecan Caramel Topping:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp golden syrup/corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, whole or roughly chopped
1.Preheat the oven to 325°F and lightly grease a 9 inch springform or push pan.
2.Place the Graham crackers, pecans and sugar in a food processor and blitz until it forms fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend again until it resembles wet sand. Tip the mixture out into the prepared tin, spread it level and pack it down firmly.
3.Bake the base for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
4.Whisk together the cream cheese, cornstarch, sour cream, sugars and vanilla until smooth then whisk in the eggs one at a time.
5.Put the kettle on. Wrap the outside of the tin in a double layer of clingfilm then a double layer of wide tinfoil, making sure that there are no gaps or splits; place the tin in a large roasting tray.
6.Pour the filling into the tin then pour enough boiling water into the roasting tray so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the tin; make sure that it doesn’t come over the top of the tinfoil. Place in the oven and bake for about 60-75 minutes until the cheesecake is set but still has a slight wobble in the centre.
7.Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, return it to the switched off oven, close the door and leave it in there for at least an hour (letting it cool down slowly like this helps to prevent it from cracking). Allow the cheesecake to cool until it is almost at room temperature then carefully run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the tin before covering and refrigerating overnight.
8.To make the topping, place the cream, butter, syrup, vanilla and salt in a small pan and heat until it is steaming.
9.Place the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and place over a medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan (don’t stir), until the sugar has melted. Continue to cook until it turns amber then remove from the heat and carefully pour in the cream mixture (it will splutter). Return the pan to a low heat and stir until the caramel is smooth. Stir in the pecans then set aside for the caramel to cool a little.
10.Carefully turn the cheesecake out onto a serving platter, pour over the pecan caramel and serve. Both the cheesecake and pecan caramel can be made the day beforehand and stored in the fridge but don’t top the cheesecake with the caramel until shortly before serving. If the caramel gets too thick to pour then simply warm it up over a low heat until it melts. Keep the cheesecake refrigerated.