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Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A childhood fondness for turtle candies, with crunchy pecans wrapped in rich caramel, inspired this decadent cheesecake.

NotesIt’s best not to spread the melted caramel mixture right to the edge of the pan. If you do, it might stick and make it difficult to remove the cake from the pan.

Variation:

Pecan lovers will enjoy pecan shortbread cookie crumbs in the crust instead of the chocolate sandwich cookies.

Serves10 to 12

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer

Taste and Texturecheesy, chocolatey, creamy, nutty, sweet

Type of Dishcheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups (300 mL) chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) pecans, toasted (see tips) and ground
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (250 mL) soft caramels
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) evaporated milk or whipping (35%) cream
  • 6 oz (175 g) bittersweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 packages (each 8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
  • ½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 9-inch (23 cm) cheesecake pan, ungreased, or springform pan with 3-inch (7.5 cm) sides, greased

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

  2. Crust: In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, ground pecans and butter. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.

  3. Filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt caramels in evaporated milk, stirring frequently, until smooth. Reserve about 3 tbsp (45 mL); cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining caramel mixture over frozen crust, spreading evenly and leaving a ½-inch (1 cm) border uncovered. Sprinkle chocolate chunks over caramel. Set aside.

  4. In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth, for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Fold in chopped pecans by hand.

  5. Pour over frozen crust, smoothing out to sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven until top is light brown and center has a slight jiggle to it, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating or serving.

  6. Decoration: Reheat reserved caramel mixture in the microwave (or in a small saucepan over low heat) until melted. Drizzle over cake.

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