Pecan Pie Cheesecake: A Thanksgiving dessert that will make you give thanks

Before you give me the eye-roll, don’t worry – I’m not going all CVS on you. Thanksgiving has not come early and I’m not looking to start turkey-day planning. I entered a cooking competition through the local paper, Cape Cod Times, and I needed a dessert when we went to Danbury, New Hampshire to see a friend (1. yay, my 24th state visited! 2. being from Texas, it’s still mind-boggling to me how close the New England states are up here. We’re an hour away from RI, CT, and NH!).

This IS however, a great recipe to consider if you’re looking for something that’s a little different with a classic twist. It IS a little time-consuming, though not much more than any other cheesecake. You need to bake the crust, but then the pecan pie filling sets while you’re making the cheesecake topping.

With a buttery, crumbly crust on the bottom, velvety gooey and nutty pecan pie in the middle, and a lusciously creamy cheesecake on top, this is THE dessert that will take care of every post-turkey sweets craving. I love this dessert because of the crunch of the pecans, the smoothness of the cheesecake, and the decadence of the pecan syrup at the bottom. You, your family, and friends will all give thanks for this dessert!

1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the pecan pie filling, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

To make the cheesecake filling, reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 slices

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