Thursday, November 17, 2011

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

IMG_2055eHere we are already, the second month of the Improv Cooking Challenge which is now being hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  How this challenge works is, each month two ingredients are assigned and you can make any recipe of your choice as long as it includes those two ingredients.  Last month, for the inaugural challenge all the participants made recipes using caramel and apple and I have to say, the Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies that I made were over the top wonderful.  I loved seeing all the other wonderful caramel and apple recipes, eighty-two to be exact, that the other participants submitted and if you’re interested in seeing them all, just click over to my Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies post and scroll to the bottom to see all the submissions. 

This month we were challenged to make a recipe which included cream cheese and pumpkin and to this end I decided on a Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I decided that I would use a basic cheesecake recipe that I have been using for decades and that I would change it up a bit and get that pumpkin pie flavor in there.  Next I chose to not only top it with praline but to also carry those flavors through by only using brown sugar throughout the cake and also by adding pecans to the crust.  In the end I managed to make one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made.  The flavor of the brown sugar with the pumpkin, the spices, the toasted nuts, well they melded perfectly and this recipe is going to be made again and again.  I hope that you’ll give this cheesecake a try as it’s beyond delicious and a perfect dessert to grace your holiday table.

IMG_1965eThe crust came together quickly as all the ingredients went into the food processor.

IMG_1969eA couple spins of the blade and the crust was ready to bake.

IMG_1972ePress the crust ingredients into the bottom of a 10-by-3 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.

IMG_1976eWhile the crust bakes and cools, drain the pumpkin squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

IMG_1979eOnce the crust is baked and cooled place the pan in an oven bag and roll down the edges.  I find that the oven bags are easier and work much better than layers of foil for keeping the water out of the pan.

IMG_1984ePour the filling over the crust and then put the pan into a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water so that it comes half way up the springform pan.

IMG_1986eCheesecake, crack free since it was cooked in a water bath.

IMG_2026eOnce the cheesecake is cooled completely top with the praline topping and chill to allow the topping to set.

 IMG_2057e Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 cup pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin 
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar 
2 tsp. roasted ground cinnamon 
1 tsp. ground ginger  
1/2 tsp. allspice 
1/2 tsp. ground cloves 
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 

1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBS. butter
1 TBS vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to at 375°F.

To make the crust:  In a food processor pulse the pecans, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, flour, butter and egg yolk until fully mixed. Press into the bottom of 10-by-3 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Once the crust is cooled completely, put the pan into a large oven bag and roll down the edges so that they are the same height as the pan.

Once the crust has baked, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.  Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

To make the filling:  Drain the pumpkin purée by placing it on several layers of paper towels. Cover with additional layers of paper towels and use your hands to gently squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the purée.  In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the pumpkin purée and mix until well blended.  Add the egg, sour cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg and blend until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and then transfer the oven bag lined pan to a large roasting pan and place in the preheated 325°F oven.  Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.  Bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes and then turn oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes longer.  Lift the cheesecake from inside the oven bag and keeping the cake in the springform pan, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the praline topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans, single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts. Stir together the brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil the mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes making sure it does not boil over. Do not stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool the praline about 30 minutes so that it thickens up some before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Pour over the cheesecake and then chill a few hours or overnight allowing the praline to harden a bit.  When ready to serve, if necessary, run a sharp knife around the inside of the springform pan before opening the clasp and removing the ring.



  1. That is one mouth-watering ptaline pumpkin cheesecake, one of the best I have ever seen. Just the drippy praline on it's own is enough to slay me, but then you get that pumpkinny, creamy cheesecake beneath! Another Lisa masterpiece :)

  2. This looks fantastic. I love everything about this cheesecake. Great recipe.

  3. I make Pumpkin Cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving. I love the idea of the oven bag to keep the water out, I usually just put a pan of water on the rack below the cheesecake.

  4. Oh my golly! That just looks wonderful!!! Great job!

  5. Oh my - am i allowed to lick the screen :)

  6. LOVE, love, love that slow cooker bag trick! That is super handy. And I would be happy just eating a bowl full of that praline topping. Sounds divine!

  7. Mmmmmm, Lisa!!! This is one amazing cheesecake!

  8. What a beautiful cheesecake. Very special for any occasion and perfect flavors for the upcoming holidays!

    SO nice stopping by!
    Kindly, Lorraine

  9. This looks great! I thought about making cheesecake, but then I got lazy...

  10. Great pictures! Yummy cheesecake :D

  11. This looks so yummy! I would love some :)

  12. This looks delicious! I made a pumpkin cheesecake too (but I forgot to email Kristen).

  13. Oh! my that looks fantastic, I could send my eldest to your place, she loves cheese cake like made!, great recipe beautiful step wise clicks...

  14. Oh my Lord!! That looks so sinful...Great job!!

  15. Hi! I'm a fellow Challenge Participant and wanted to let you know that I added your recipe to my Fun Friday Finds Improv Edition. I hope you can stop by.

  16. I'm literally drooling over that praline! Wow, looks so delish. Never made praline before, so thanks for sharing your recipe and great photos :-)

  17. Looks fantastic-great tip to drain the pumpkin, you'll have less cracking in the end.

  18. What a genius idea to use the oven bag over the bottom of the pan! Your cheesecake looks delicious but what could be wrong with pumpkin, cream cheese, and graham crackers?!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog as well.

  19. It looks like a masterpiece! Sure wish I could taste a slice...

  20. I am a baked cheesecake and pumpkin fan! I bet the praline topping is delicious!

    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog.


  21. What a cheesecake!! That praline topping is out of this world, Lisa!

  22. It looks wonderful, and I love the idea of using oven bags. Thanks for linking up at A Little Nosh this week!

  23. Another amazing, tempting Thanksgiving recipe! Thanks again for linking up at my Thanksgiving blog hop!

  24. Wow... looks so delicious, especially that topping!

  25. Looks scrumptious, but that praline topping is seriously what has me drooling! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  26. Well that just looks sinful! I'm returning your check-out from the Improv Cooking Challenge.

  27. Over the top cheesecake. Great tip on using the oven bag in the water bath.


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