dessert

Maple Pecan Cheesecake

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prep time 30 minutes
cook time 80 minutes, plus 4 hour chill
yield 8 slices

Overview

Get ready for one of the best pieces of life (and baking) advice you'll ever receive: never skimp on maple flavor. For this maple pecan cheesecake, that means adding not just a full cup of real maple syrup to the rich, creamy batter, but a highly recommended splash of maple extract. It's the secret to a maple cheesecake that actually tastes like maple syrup—even when it's blanketed in a crunchy, silky sweet pecan caramel.

BY:Brown Sugar Food Blogger

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Nellie’s Free Range Unsalted Butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 4 eight-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 large Nellie’s Free Range Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract, optional (see notes)

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 1 tablespoon Nellie’s Free Range Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

To make the crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Wrap the outside of a 9” springform pan with aluminum foil. Spray the inside with baking spray. Place pan in a large, shallow baking dish. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, finely chopped pecans, brown sugar, sugar, and melted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  • Pour the crust mixture into the springform pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and 1" up the sides. Bake at 350F for 5 minutes, then let cool on the counter while you make the filling.

To make the filling:

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and use an electric handheld or stand mixer to beat until slightly fluffy and free from lumps.
  • With your mixer on medium speed, slowly stream maple syrup into the cream cheese until fully combined.
  • Add in the eggs, two at a time, whisking the batter well after each addition.
  • Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and maple extract, and mix until well blended and smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the cream cheese has been incorporated.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust.
  • Fill the baking dish with the springform pan inside about halfway full with water.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cheesecake cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the topping:

  • Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat (see notes).
  • Add the brown sugar and stir to help it begin to dissolve. Allow mixture to simmer and come to a boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Remove pot from heat and add the cream to the mixture, stirring as you go; the mixture will foam up quickly.
  • Whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter until fully melted and combined.
  • Stir in the chopped pecans and pinch of salt.
  • Allow to cool slightly at room temperature. Pour on top of the cheesecake while the topping is slightly warm, and set aside until ready to serve.

Nellie’s Notes:

While the maple extract is optional for this recipe, it really helps to brighten up the flavor of the maple syrup, so it’s a worthwhile addition if you have it on hand. If you happen to be out of it, this cheesecake will still be delicious with just the maple syrup and vanilla extract.

The caramel topping will significantly increase in size when the cream is added, so make sure your pot is big enough to accommodate at least double or triple the volume of your ingredients so you don’t end up with a caramel overflow on your hands.

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