Hello friends! Today we are making a delicious Pecan Pie Cheesecake. For the base, we are making a pecan and Honey Maid Graham Cracker crust, which is filled with a creamy baked cheesecake, and topped with the best Pecan Caramel Sauce.
This post is sponsored by Nabisco® all opinions are my own.
I am also going to provide you with some tips on how to make cheesecake without cracking.
So you can have a beautiful cheesecake with a nice and smooth top.
But first things first. Let’s make the Pecan and Honey Maid Graham Cracker crust.
What is cheesecake without graham cracker crust, am I right? And we are making the crust for our Pecan Pie Cheesecake even better by adding pecans and using Honey Maid Graham Crackers.
Honey Maid Graham Crackers are undeniably the best graham crackers in the world. We always keep at least a package in our pantry, for easy crusts, desserts, for snacking, or for more elaborate desserts such as our Pecan Pie Cheesecake.
In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. You can also process the graham crackers and add the other ingredients later like I do on my video, if your food processor is smaller.
After adding the butter, press the crust down the bottom of a springform pan.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350ºF.
You will also have to prepare the springform pan for the water bath. Do this by laying two large pieces of aluminum foil crosswise on the counter, and then wrap the bottom of the pan with the foil, making sure the foil is going all the way up the sides of the pan.
It helps to use wide aluminum foil, as it will be easier to wrap it around the pan without letting any water in through the crevices.
If the water from the water bath gets in the foil, it might make the cheesecake bottom soggy.
You can wrap the pan before baking the crust, or after removing it from the oven, before pouring the cheesecake batter in.
Now it’s time to make the batter of our Pecan Pie Cheesecake.
The batter is super easy to make and straight-forward.
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, add the sugar, cream some more. Then add the sour cream, vanilla.
Lastly, add the eggs. Lightly whisk the eggs before adding them to the batter. Also, make sure to beat the eggs as little as possible with the batter. The more you beat the eggs, the more air you will add to them, which will make the cheesecake expand too much and crack.
Tips on how to prevent the cheesecake from cracking
- Use room temperature cream cheese. If the cream cheese is cold, it will be lumpy, the batter won’t be smooth.
- Also make sure the eggs are at room temperature, because room temperature eggs are easier to incorporate than cold eggs.
- Mix the eggs in with the batter as little as possible. The more you mix the eggs, the more air you will add to the batter. The air will cause the cheesecake to expand and crack.
- A nice tip is to lightly whisk the eggs before adding them to the batter, just to break them up, and also to add the eggs in three installments to the batter, mixing minimally after each addition. After the last addition, I like to beat with the mixer just for a few seconds, and then finish mixing with a spatula, to avoid over beating.
- Use a water bath. This is super important. A water bath will prevent the cheesecake from scorching around the edges. And it will also prevent the temperature from the outside of the cheesecake to get much hotter than in the middle. The temperature differences will cause cracking, which is why the water bath helps so much, by making the temperature more even throughout the whole cake.
- Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour before removing it. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon, which will help the temperature slowly decrease. The harsh temperature change may cause the cheesecake to crack, which is why this is a great technique.
- Don’t open the oven while the cheesecake is cooking, again, harsh temperature changes may cause the cheesecake to crack.
- Don’t over bake the cheesecake.
- As soon as you remove the cheesecake from the oven after it sat in there for 1 hour, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen up the sides, this way, as the cheesecake cools down and naturally shrinks, it won’t pull out from the sides of the pan, making the middle crack.
Now to our delicious Pecan Caramel Sauce.
Two modifications may be done to the recipe. You can choose to leave out the light corn syrup and the bourbon.
The bourbon is a classic that a lot of people like to add to their pecan pie. As well as the corn syrup.
The corn syrup helps stabilize the caramel, preventing it from getting grainy.
It’s very important throughout the whole process, to continue to stir the sugar as it cooks, to ensure it will melt evenly.
Also, don’t over cook the caramel. As soon as the sugar melts, and is dark in color, add the heavy cream, then immediately after the bubbles subside, add the butter. Once the butter is almost entirely melted, remove from the heat and add the pecans.
Can I freeze the Pecan Pie Cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze the cheesecake. However, I recommend freezing it without the sauce on top.
Place the plain cheesecake in the freezer for 1 hour or so, until frozen on the edges.
Then wrap it with plastic, and place it in a container, or a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.
To thaw, remove it from the freezer the day before serving and keep it in the fridge.
The Pecan Caramel Sauce may also be made up to 15 days ahead, and kept in the fridge covered.
To warm up the sauce, simply place it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, and stir until smooth and runny.
If you like this Pecan Pie Cheesecake, here are some more recipes you may enjoy:
- No-bake Chocolate Cheesecake Pie
- Baklava Cheesecake
- Apple Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
- No-bake Pistachio Cheesecake Pie
- Matcha Pie
- Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Pie
- No-bake White Chocolate Cheesecake
- Cookie Dough Cheesecake Brownie
And even better, all the recipes above can also be made with a Honey Maid Graham Cracker crust!
If you make this recipe, tag me on instagram or leave a comment below, I always love hearing from you!
Thank you for reading!
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
- 1 full sleeve of Honey Maid Graham Crackers 136 grams, 9 full sheets
- 1/2 cup pecans 56 grams
- 2 tbsp brown sugar 25 grams
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar 25 grams
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter melted (70 grams)
- 4 cups of cream cheese softened (907 grams, 4 8-oz. blocks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
- 3/4 cup sour cream 180 grams
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs room temperature
Pecan Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup optional
- 1 tbsp bourbon optional
- 2/3 cup heavy cream 160 ml
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter 42 grams
- 1 cup roasted pecans 113 grams
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the graham crackers in a food processor. Process until they become a fine crumb.
- Add the pecans, and the sugars to the bowl. Process until the pecans are ground.
- Add the butter and mix until combined.
- Pour the crumbs on the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Use the bottom of a cup or your hands to press the crumbs down the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. The crust should at least go up the sides of the pan enough to cover the crevices of the bottom, so the cheesecake batter doesn’t leak out when it gets added to the pan.
- Bake the crust in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove and let it cool down.
- Lay two large pieces of foil crosswise on the counter. Place the springform pan in the middle, then fold the foil up the sides, tightly, to prepare the pan for the water bath. The trick is to use the wide aluminum foil, which should be large enough to not let any water slip inside. Set aside.
Prepare the cheesecake batter
- Start by beating the cream cheese with a mixer for about 4 minutes, until very creamy. Make sure there are no lumps in the cream cheese, scrape the bowl as necessary. The cream cheese must be at room temperature, cold cream cheese will be lumpy.
- Add the granulated sugar and cream for another minute.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat until incorporated, another minute or so.
- Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Crack the eggs in a small bowl, and lightly beat them with a fork to break them up. This will help the eggs be incorporated into the batter without having to over mix. It’s very important not to over mix the cheesecake batter once you add the eggs in. This will cause cracks in your cheesecake later on because the eggs will expand the more you beat them and incorporate air into them.
- Once the eggs have been slightly beaten, add them in 3 installments to the cream cheese bowl. After each installment mix just enough to incorporate the eggs, about 20 seconds. Also, using a spatula, scrape the bowl in between.
- After the last egg addition, I like to finish mixing with a spatula, so I don’t end up over beating the batter.
- Once the batter is smooth pour it on the bottom of the pre-baked crust.
Prepare the water bath
- Boil 4 to 6 cups of water. This will be used in the water bath for the cheesecake. The amount of water will depend on how big the pan you will use for the water bath is.
- Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan, with tall sides.
- Pour the hot water in the pan, to create the water bath.
- It should be about 2 inches high.
- Place the cheesecake with the water bath in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the cheesecake looks set around the edges, and slightly jiggly in the middle, and lightly golden on top.
- Turn the oven off, prop the door open with a wooden spoon or spatula, and let the cheesecake sit in there for about 1 hour.
- Then remove the cheesecake from the oven, run a pairing knife around the edges of the cheesecake, to loosen it up from the sides of the pan. Remove the foil from the bottom, and store in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Pecan Caramel Sauce
- Place the sugar, light corn syrup, and bourbon in a saucepan with a heavy bottom. You can skip the light corn syrup and the bourbon, in that case it will be just the sugar in the saucepan, and it will melt way faster without the added ingredients.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, and melt the sugar while stirring non-stop. It’s important to stir at all times so this way the sugar melts evenly.
- First the sugar will crystallize, then it will melt, just continue stirring. By the time the last bit of sugar melts, the syrup should have an amber color.
- Don’t continue to cook it as the sugar will burn quickly. As soon as the last bit of sugar melts and the syrup is golden, lower the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble up pretty strongly.
- Continue to stir the heavy cream for a few seconds until the bubbles subside and the syrup is smooth again. Don’t cook this too much, and don’t keep the heat high. If you cook the caramel at this point, it will become hardened after it cools down.
- Quickly add the butter and stir.
- Once the butter has melted almost entirely, remove the pan from the heat.
- Continue to stir until the last bit of butter melts.
- Add the pecans and stir to coat.
- Transfer the caramel to a bowl.
- It will seem very thin and liquidy and that’s fine. It will thicken up as it cools down.
- You can make this sauce quite a bit ahead, it will keep in the fridge for up to 15 days.
- Before serving with the cheesecake, you can heat it up for 20 seconds in the microwave.
- Pour the Pecan Pie Sauce over the cheesecake and serve.
- The cheesecake will store well in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 1 month, if very well packaged. To freeze, place it in the freezer uncovered for about 1 hour, when the cheesecake is more or less solid, wrap it in plastic, and place it in a container.
- Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Water bath: the water bath is very important and will prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
Eggs: don’t over beat the eggs with the batter, to avoid cracks in the cheesecake.
Temperature: leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour after baking, with the door propped open, because harsh temperature changes will make the cheesecake crack.
Aluminum foil: make sure to wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, and use wide foil preferably, to prevent the water from slipping in and making the cheesecake crust soggy.
Springform pan: this cheesecake can be made on a 9″ pan or on a 8″ deep cheesecake pan.
Light corn syrup: totally optional to add it. It helps the caramel not be grainy.
Bourbon: also optional, but a lot of people like to add it.
Caramel sauce: don’t over cook the caramel sauce at any point. As soon as the sugar has melted entirely, add the heavy cream, then the butter, and don’t over cook, or the sauce will become hardened as it cools.
Make ahead: the caramel sauce can be made up to 15 days ahead. The cheesecake will also freeze well. Check the recipe for freezing instructions.