Pecan Praline Cheesecake
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 to 3/4 cup butter, melted
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and enough of the melted butter so the the crumbs come together. Pat the crumb mixture into the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Place the crust in the freezer while preparing the filling.
To make the filling: In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and beat again. Add the vanilla and flour, mixing well, then fold in the nuts. Pour the filling onto the crust and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is set in the center.
Meanwhile, make the topping and praline.
In a medium saucepan, combine all the topping ingredients and bring to a slight boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a glaze-like consistency.
To make the pecan praline: Heat the sugar and water over medium-high heat until it caramelizes or turns an amber color. Place the pecans on a greased baking sheet. Carefully (the sugar mixture is very hot) pour the caramelized sugar over the pecans and allow to set. Break into pieces, then grind in a food processor. Store in airtight containers in the freezer.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Leave it in the pan. Gently pour the topping ingredients over the cake. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to serve, remove the side of the springform pan, scatter about 3 tablespoons of the pecan praline over the top, pipe with whipped cream and decorate with the pecans. Place a few of the caramelized sugar sticks (see note) on the cake between the other toppings.
COOK’S NOTE: To make caramelized sugar sticks, mix together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it caramelizes and turns amber in color. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Drizzle the sugar mixture onto foil, forming odd-shaped, long stringy sticks. Allow to harden, peel foil away gently. Use to garnish desserts and cakes.
Adapted from “Hot Cuisine: Recipes to excite”