Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Light & Luscious: Praline Cheesecake

When you're tired of pumpkin pie and pecan pie and apple pie, where do you turn?  What is left to sate your sugar cravings during the holiday season?  Why not a sinfully rich cheesecake?  I mean, you're busting your gut anyway.  Might as well go whole hog and enjoy every last crumb.

I found this recipe years ago in a cookbook my mother had.  I first made it when I was probably about 16, and my mother fell in love with it.  She requests it any time a cheesecake is mentioned.  So being the horrible daughter I am, I pretty much never make it.  Hey, don't judge.

Praline Cheesecake with Butterscotch Sauce
From Light and Luscious

1 cup ground toasted pecans
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons praline liqueur or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 pecan halves, toasted
Butterscotch Sauce

Combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack.

Beat the cream cheese at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Combine the brown sugar and cornstarch; add to the cream cheese mixture, beating well. Add the milk and liqueur, beating at low speed until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the prepared crust.

Set the springform pan with the cooled crust on an 18-inch square of double layer heavy-duty foil and wrap the bottom and sides; set the wrapped pan in a roasting pan.  Pour the filling into the springform pan and smooth the surface; set the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the springform pan.  Bake the cheesecake until the center of the cake is slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour.  Combine the sour cream, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Spread the mixture on top of the cheesecake and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Set the roasting pan on a wire rack.  Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes.  Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and set the springform pan on the wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.  Decorate with pecan halves and serve with Butterscotch Sauce.

Makes 16 servings

Butterscotch Sauce
From the 1974 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup water
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup

In a heavy saucepan, combine the ingredients. Cook and stir over low heat until thick. Stir before using.

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