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SALTED CARAMEL PECAN CHEESECAKE

2nd Place Winner of the Pearson Farm Pecan Recipe Contest at the 2021 Georgia National Fair- Recipe submitted by Paula Smith

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed

3/4 cup Pearson Farm Pecan Pieces

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs

FOR THE CAKE TOPPING:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

FOR THE PECAN TOPPING:

2 cups Pearson Farm Pecan Halves

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9- inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.  
  • In a medium bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, pecan pieces, and butter.  Stir well.  Pour the mixture evenly into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press firmly to create a crust.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a bowl and hand mixer) combine the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Pour the batter onto the crust.  Lightly tap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the center in almost completely set.  Cool and then refrigerate overnight to allow the cheesecake to firm up before serving (or at least 3 hours for those impatient folks).
  • For cake topping, mix the sour cream with sugar and spread gently on top of cheesecake.
  • Place back in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until topping is set.
  • To make the pecan topping, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spread the pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake them for 7 to 10 minutes or until just fragrant.  In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream.  Cook until bubbly, then stir in the toasted pecans.  Cool to room temperature before pouring over the cooled cheesecake.

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