Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Get the best of both worlds with this pecan pie cheesecake! Crunchy graham cracker crust, warm brown sugar cheesecake filling, & a gooey pecan pie topping.
Hey happy November!
As much as I can’t believe we are here already, I am kinda excited about being able to share lots of yummy Thanksgiving recipes over the next few weeks.
Some of my top favorites include this homemade cranberry sauce, this pumpkin pie, and these homemade crescent rolls. These are on our Thanksgiving table year after year! Everybody loves them and it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them.
But this year we are taking a little detour from that tradition, in favor of this incredible pecan pie cheesecake!
WHAT IS PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE?
This is next-level pecan pie, my friend!
As beloved as pecan pie is, I don’t think anyone would argue that pecan pie + cheesecake is definitely an upgrade.
With a crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust, a silky, creamy, brown sugar cheesecake filling, and a gooey, sweet, and crunchy pecan pie topping, this pecan pie cheesecake will be the star of your dessert table!
HOW TO MAKE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE
This dessert has three main components:
- The graham cracker crust.
- The brown sugar cheesecake filling.
- The gooey pecan pie topping.
Start with the crust.
THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
To make this easy crust, just combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Stir everything together until it’s combined.
And then press it into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan.
This is my go-to pan for baking cheesecakes. I am NOT a fan of the springform pan. They always leak!
A regular cake pan with straight, high sides works much better. And once the cheesecake is chilled solid, it will flip right out without a problem. Trust me! I’ve made a lot of cheesecake recipes in my day. 😉
This recipe can also be made in an 8×8 square pan, and cut into pecan pie cheesecake bars.
Side note: if you use gluten-free graham cracker crumbs, you’ll have a gluten-free pecan pie cheesecake!
THE BROWN SUGAR CHEESECAKE FILLING
Once the crust is made, you can move on to the filling.
Cream cheese, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt go into a large mixing bowl.
Beat these ingredients together on medium speed, until nice and smooth. Then, scrape the bottom and sides of the pan with a silicone spatula, and mix in the first egg.
Continue adding the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. This will ensure that your cheesecake is lump-free and silky-smooth.
Stir in the cream and vanilla, and then pour the batter over the graham cracker crust.
Next just place your cheesecake pan in a larger dish, and pour water all around, until it comes about halfway up the sides. This will allow your cheesecake to bake very gently in the oven, without cracking.
Bake it until it’s set around the edges, but still a little wobbly towards the center. Then cool it down really slowly.
When it’s cooled to room temperature, give it a nice long nap in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and serve it.
THE PECAN PIE TOPPING
While your brown sugar cheesecake is chilling in the refrigerator, you can get going on the filling.
This is a pecan pie filling that’s made on the stovetop!
If you don’t want to use bourbon you can just leave it out, but I really like the extra flavor it brings.
And if you don’t want to use dark corn syrup, you can sub in maple syrup, honey, or a combination of the two.
Whisk all of this together until it’s smooth, then pop it on the stove over medium-low heat.
Cook this mixture, whisking constantly, until it comes up to a simmer and becomes nice and thick. Then take it off the heat, and whisk in some butter and vanilla.
The last step is to fold in the crunchy pecans!
Allow it to cool completely (it will become thicker as it cools), then pour this gooey goodness all over the top of your cheesecake.
Cue the choir of angels!
DOES THIS NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
It’s fine to leave this cheesecake out at room temperature for a few hours. I really like it best when it’s served this way.
But if you have leftovers, they should be refrigerated. They will keep for around 5 to 7 days in the fridge.
CAN THIS BE MADE AHEAD?
Cheesecakes are great for making ahead. They take a long time to bake and even longer to chill down, so it’s always a good idea to give yourself lots of extra time for a recipe like this.
The cheesecake and crust can be made several days ahead, and kept cold in the fridge.
The pecan pie topping can also be made ahead.
Keep everything wrapped tightly so it doesn’t pick up any funny odors!
CAN YOU FREEZE IT?
You can definitely freeze the cheesecake part. It will keep in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for several months. Thaw it in the fridge the day before you plan to serve it, then top it with the pecan pie layer.
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Pecan Pie Cheesecake
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
For the Brown Sugar Cheesecake Filling:
For the Pecan Pie Topping:
- 1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar, , loosely packed
- 2/3 cup (157.73 ml) dark corn syrup*
- 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks, (large)
- 1 1/2 cups (354.88 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons (44.36 g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (198 g) pecans
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust:
- Toss the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, pressing it into an even layer.
To Make the Brown Sugar Cheesecake Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the cream cheese, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and beat together on medium-low speed until smooth.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then beat in the first egg.
- Continue adding the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Stir in the cream and vanilla, and pour the batter over the crust.
- Place the unbaked cheesecake in a larger dish, and pour water into the larger dish until it comes about halfway up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F, then lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 70 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set around the edges but still a little wobbly towards the center.
- Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in to cool down slowly, with the oven door slightly ajar.
- When the cheesecake has reached room temperature, transfer it to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
- Just before serving, flip the cheesecake out of the pan, invert onto a serving plate, and spoon the cooled pecan pie topping over the top.
To Make the Pecan Pie Topping:
- Place the corn syrup, brown sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, cream, bourbon (if using), and salt in a medium, heavy bottomed pot and whisk to combine.
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until simmering and thickened (time can vary based on how hot your stovetop is and the kind of pot you are using).
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Fold in the pecans, and allow to cool completely before spooning the mixture over the chilled cheesecake.