Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake
- 1/3 c butter
- 1/4 c packed brown sugar
- 1 c all purpose flour
- 3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 c packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1 8 oz. carton dairy sour cream
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- pecan halves (optional)
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 c chopped pecans
For Pecan-Praline Pieces and Powder,* line a large baking sheet with foil; set aside. In a heavy skillet place the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking skillet occasionally until sugar begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the chopped pecans; cook about 3 minutes more or until sugar is golden brown and pecans are toasted, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading with a wooden spoon as thin as possible. Cool. Break or chop the cooled praline into 1/4-inch pieces. Set half of it aside. For Pecan-Praline Powder, place remaining broken pieces in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until ground. Store in separate containers in refrigerator or freezer up to 1 week.
For crust, in a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. Add the 1/4 cup brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 cup flour. Beat on low to medium speed just until combined.
Pat dough onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack while preparing filling.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, the 3/4 cup brown sugar, and the 2 tablespoons flour with an electric mixer on a medium to high speed until combined. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Add eggs all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the coarsely broken pecan-praline pieces, reserving the powder for the topping.
Pour filling into the crust-lined springform pan. Place the springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken.
In a small bowl combine sour cream and granulated sugar. Spread over top of cheesecake.
Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove side of the springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours
Just before serving, sprinkle the Pecan-Praline Powder over sour cream topping in center of cheesecake and garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
*Note: Be extremely careful when working with the hot sugar mixture for the Pecan-Praline Pieces and Powder. Total attention must be given as things move quickly when the sugar reaches the proper temperature to caramelize. Store praline powder in an airtight container until serving time. If desired, the praline powder also can be used as an ice-cream topping.
Bake your cheesecakes until edges are light brown and center is almost set. Turn the oven off and let cheesecake stand in oven, with door ajar, 30 minutes or until center is completely set. Then remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
It is important to use room temperature ingredients, such as the cream cheese and eggs. To bring cream cheese to room temperature, quickly, place completely unwrapped package(s) in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly softened. NOTE: Do nor let the cream cheese melt or get warm. Refrigerate if it does.
When mixing the ingredients (especially the eggs) together, beat at medium speed just until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time only, on the slowest speed possible and scrape both beater and bowl. You want to avoid beating air into the mixture. Too much air will make the cheesecake fall. Overbeat can also cause cracks to form in the cheesecake as it bakes.
Cheesecakes are egg based, and they need low heat. Position baking rack in center of oven and place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack. Place a shallow pan full of water on the lower rack in the oven. The water will also help minimize cracking in the top of the cheesecake.
Lightly grease (butter) the inside of the entire springform pan. This is to help prevent the batter from creeping up the side and then falling. You can even cut a piece of parchment paper (the same size as the bottom of your springform pan) and place on the bottom of the pan.
Do not open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking. Drafts can cause a cheesecake to fall or crack.
Let the cheesecake "rest" after baking. Unless other directions are specified in the recipe, when the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and open the door.
Do not jar the cheesecake while it is baking or cooling.
Expect a slight shrinkage as it cools. If there is great shrinkage, you have baked it at too high a heat.
The cheesecake is done when center is almost set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken.
Cool completely before refrigerating. Chilling a warm cheesecake will trap condensation in the cake and make it soggy.
Cheesecakes always need to be well chilled before serving, preferably 12 to 24 hours before cutting (the cheesecake will solidify to a perfect consistency during this time).
Slide a small knife around edges of cake to loosen it and remove sides of the springform pan; transfer onto a cake plate.