Tasty Tuesday: First Prize for the Holidays

While we were at my parent's house in October for a fall break vacation, I was looking through my mom's Southern Living magazines and saw a recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake. I am not a pumpkin pie fan at all, but I don't mind little doses of pumpkin, like Pumpkin Roll. I knew that my family was coming to my house for Thanksgiving so I filed that recipe back in my head to try for the holiday.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving and I made the Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake. It was sooooo good, but I thought that if I tweaked it a little bit then I could make it better. So last night I gave it the old college try for our ladies' ornament exchange party at church. The following recipe is the result of my tweaking to Southern Living's original recipe.

Here is what you will need:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup pecans, cookie pieces size
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 small can of pumpkin
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Stir together graham crackers, pecans, brown sugar, and butter in a bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and halfway up the sides of a 13x9 inch baking dish.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until blended and smooth.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Add pumpkin and lemon juice, beating until blended.

Pour batter into crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven with door closed for 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from the oven and let stand on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

This is how you make the basic cheesecake. But we don't do basic in my kitchen! Now it's time to make the praline topping. Make this immediately before serving the cheesecake.

Here is what you will need:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces, cookie size (optional)

Add the brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter to a saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and gradually whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

This is optional, but I added in 1 cup of cookie size pecan pieces.

Let stand 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Pour over the top of pumpkin cheesecake.

Serve immediately.

So there you have it, folks. My holiday cheesecake masterpiece without a springform pan in sight :)

It is so unbelievably delicious, I can't even describe it!

Disappointed there are no leftovers to enjoy of this cheesecake in the treehouse,


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