‘Tis the season to eat pumpkin – and while pumpkin pie is one of my most favorite desserts, a pumpkin cheesecake ain’t too shabby, either – especially when pecans and maple syrup are included!
We’re bringing a couple of desserts and an appetizer to dinner, tomorrow – the aforementioned cheesecake, and Victor made traditional anise biscotti. Certain things are better made a few days in advance – and cheesecake is definitely one of them – it should sit a good 72 hours before cutting into it. Really. Most recipes you see online will say cool for 4 hours or overnight. I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes in my life. I can make them blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back and standing on one leg while singing Bohemian Rhapsody. If you want to eat a cheesecake on Saturday – make it on Wednesday. Trust me on this.
Untying myself and stepping off my soapbox, here’s the recipe I came up with for an 8″ springform pan. You can use a standard 10″ pan, if that’s what you have. It will be a bit thinner and take a bit less time to bake – or you can add another brick of cream cheese and a splash of heavy cream to the amounts below. Either way, it will come out just fine… Cheesecakes are very forgiving.
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake with Maple Pecan Caramel Topping
- 1 sleeve graham crackers
- 3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 8 oz bricks cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla
Butter an 8″ springform pan. Set aside.
Place graham crackers, pecans, and sugar in food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until it is all mixed well. Spread crumbs into pan and press firmly using a measuring cup or straight glass, pressing a bit up the sides, as well. Refrigerate until needed.
Blend the cream cheese until creamy. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Mix in the two sugars, vanilla, and a small pinch of salt. Blend well.
Add the eggs and egg yolks and continue mixing until fully incorporated but not over-mixed.
– There are two schools of thought on mixing cheesecake batter: One is to mix like hell and incorporate air into the batter. The other is to mix minimally to not incorporate air. I am of the latter school. I mix as little as possible. Personally, I find mixing in too much air makes the cheesecake more prone to cracking. That being said, go with what works for you! –
Pour batter into pans and level top. In an 8″ pan, the batter comes fairly close to the rim of the pan. I found making a foil collar helps in keeping the cheesecake from over-browning on top.
Place in a preheated 425°F oven and immediately lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for about an hour.
Turn off heat, open oven door about a third, and allow to slowly cool in the oven for another hour or so.
Cool completely, wrap, and refrigerate for a few days.
On the day you’re going to serve, make the topping:
Bring maple syrup and pecans to a boil and reduce by about a third. Stir in heavy cream and boil again, for a minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Spread on top of cheesecake and refrigerate.
Pull out of ‘fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving.
I’ll try and remember to take a picture of a slice of this on Thursday…