The better pumpkin cheesecake to impress your guests! Perfect Thanksgiving dessert!
The smoothest pumpkin cheesecake resting on top of a sweet pecan pie filling and topped with a sour cream layer and dulce de leche!
Candied pecans are a great snack and decoration
To make these delicious smelling nuts simply roast them in an oil free pan until they begin to smell roasted. Make sure to stir them from time to time to avoid burning.
Then add sugar and mix it while the sugar is melting and turning into caramel. The candied pecans are ready when they are coated by sugar crystals like you can see in the picture.
Looking for a pecan cheesecake? Click here for the recipe!
These are the cheesecake pans that I always use in my recipe videos: Springform pan and Removable bottom pan
A 8 inch springform pan is the traditional choice to make most cheesecake recipes. I usually use it for no bake cheesecakes. For baked cheesecakes I prefer the removable bottom pan. It has the advantage of fitting a water bath snuggly around it.
Serve after chilling cheesecake with topping
After adding the dulce de leche topping the cheesecake has to chill for another half an hour to make sure it stays in place. Place the candied pecans shortly before serving all around the top of the cheesecake so they keep their crunchiness.
Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ingredients for a 8 or 9 inch cake
For the graham crust:
1 3/4 cups (10 sheets, 220 g) graham cracker crumbs or vanilla wafer
1/3 cup (80 g) butter, melted
1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar
For the pecan pie batter:
1 1/2 cups (190 g) pecans, chopped
2/3 cup (135 g) dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (120 ml) corn syrup
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cheesecake batter:
24 oz (680 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
1 can (15 oz, 425 g) pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 g) sour cream
1/2 cup (120 ml) evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin spice
2 tbsp flour
For the sour cream topping:
16 oz (450 g) sour cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the pecan caramel topping:
1 can (13 oz, 370 g) dulce de leche (see notes for homemade version)
2/3 cup pecan halves
4 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 °F. To make the graham crust you need to ground graham crackers in a food processor or by hand with a ziplock bag and a rolling pin. Mix the fine crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar and press the mixture in a spring form pan on the bottom and 1 inch up the sides to keep the pecan filling. You can use a 8 or 9 inch baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes and let come to room temperature.
For the pecan filling mix together brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla and eggs. Whisk it until evenly combined. Stir in chopped pecans and fill it on top of the baked crust. Chill it in the fridge until needed.
Boil about a quart of water for the water bath. To make the cheesecake filling, start off with a large bowl or use a food processor. Cream the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and spices with a hand mixer until smooth for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add sour cream and mix it until smooth. Mix in eggs and evaporated milk on a low speed until everything is evenly combined. Use a spatula and scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is well mixed. Pour it slowly on top of the pecan filling. Smooth it with a spatula. Cover the spring form pan in aluminum foil or a silicon baking pan to make sure no water can enter. Make the water bath with hot water and bake the cake in a 1 inch high water bath at 325 °F for about 70 minutes.
Make the sour cream topping while the cake is baking. For that simply mix sour cream with sugar and vanilla until smooth. When the cake has baked turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and water bath and pour the sour cream topping on top. Turn the oven back on and when it has reached 325 °F bake it for another 25 to 30 minutes. Let it come to room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Then let it cool over night or for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
To decorate the chilled cheesecake make candied pecans. For that prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast pecans in a frying pan without oil at medium heat. Make sure to stir nuts constantly to not burn them. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Then add sugar and stir until the sugar melts and covers the nuts in an even coating. Don't cook it too long or you will end up with hard caramel. Pour the nuts on to the baking sheet and immediately separate them while they are still hot.
Cover the chilled cheesecake with a thick layer of dulce de leche. You can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to make it easier to spread. Then fill it on top of the chilled cheesecake and smooth it with a spatula. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Shortly before serving add the candied pecans on top of the cake and serve it cold!
Make homemade dulce de leche with sweetened condensed milk. Just remove the wrapper and place as many cans you'd like to make in a tall pot. Fill it up with water about 1 to 1.5 inches above the cans and cover it with a lid. Bring it to a boil at medium high heat. Then reduce it to medium heat and let it boil for 3.5 hours. Turn it off and let it cool completely before opening the can. Unopened it lasts up to 6 to 9 months at room temperature.
To ensure a crack free cheesecake I recommend to read this cheesecake recipe.
To ensure a smooth consistency without any lumps of cream cheese the cream cheese has to be at room temperature and mixed well before adding more ingredients. Add just a small amount of liquid ingredients at the beginning and mix it in completely before adding more.
Tapping the cheesecake on the counter (covered with a kitchen towel) before baking helps releasing air bubbles that might have formed.
Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Got water in your layers of aluminum foil? Switch to a silicon mold to cover your spring form pan. Works wonders for me!