Monday, March 4, 2024

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

 The marriage you've all been waiting for:


THE Pecan Pie Cheesecake.

I've also made this for a friend who is lactose intolerant using vegan cream cheese, dairy free sour cream, and vegan butter. NOTE: You must add more sugar to the cheesecake because something about missing lactose resulted in a less sweet cheesecake. I added an extra 1/3 cup sugar and that solved the issue. 


1 3/4 cup Ginger snaps
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter (melted)

Pie Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup pecans (chopped but not fine)
1 tablespoon bourbon (or vanilla extract)

3 eight ounce pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350° Place oven racks so one is at the very bottom of the oven, and the next one as close to middle as you can get it. This will make sense later.

Begin with the crust: Add cookies to a food processor or blender and pulverize them into the consistency of sand. Add crumbs to a bowl and mix in sugar. Then add the melted butter. Mix well and transfer to a lined springform pan (NOTE: you can add parchment paper to only the bottom of your pan and grease the sides, or you can line the whole pan. It’s purely a matter of preference. Press the crumb mix into the bottom and sides of the pan (about halfway to the top).

Place crust in the oven on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven and set aside.

Next make the pecan pie: Add the sugar, syrup, butter, pecans and bourbon into the pan. Mix in the beaten eggs. Make sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed BEFORE you add heat. Otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Once everything is mixed add heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Trust me on this.

Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the crust and set aside.

Finally, you make the cheesecake: First, reduce the oven temp to 325°

Using your kitchen aid or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is a creamy texture. Slowly add sugar and flour. When that is completely mixed, add the eggs one at a time, beating just enough to mix the egg. Next, stir or fold in (by hand) the sour cream and bourbon until completely mixed. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the pecan pie filling.

Bake in the oven for one hour. After one hour, turn off the oven (do not open the oven door). Just turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake there for another hour.

After hour two, remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a knife around the edges (if you didn’t line the edges of the pan. Cook the cheesecake for at least 30 minutes but overnight is better because the flavors have time to set and develop.


1. The bourbon. The alcohol will cook out. I routinely use bourbon in recipes calling for Vanilla extract if I’m out. I don’t find bourbon changes the taste of the recipe.

2. Bake your cheesecake on a cookie sheet. I do this for two reasons: spills and a barrier between the heat and the bottom of the cake pan.

3. Be aware of your altitude. I notice things take longer to boil/cook at a higher altitude.

4. Instead of a water bath I place a 3 quart casserole dish on the bottom rack of the oven and I fill it with hot water. It stays in the oven until you remove the cheesecake. I don’t do the full water bath method  because it never works for me. I’ve had the water leak into the custard/cheesecake and that my friends will ruin a day. And maybe cause tears if it’s already 3am and you’re still baking for the big holiday dinner tomorrow. Hypothetically.

The purpose of a water bath is to avoid cracks in the cheesecake and to allow for a more even bake. My cheesecakes do not crack. They’re creamy and delicious. And they’ve never baked unevenly.

5. I use a gas oven on convection bake. I have had electric ovens and non-convection ovens and the only thing to you need to know is whether your oven cooks hotter/faster than what a recipe normally calls for, and adjusting for that. Your cheesecake may still be jiggly when you remove it from the oven. That doesn’t mean it’s not done. You cannot check it with a toothpick, so just check the jiggle. If it jiggles everywhere, cook it a little longer. Only the middle should still have some jiggle.

You can also check with a thermometer in the dead center of your cheesecake. If the temp is between 150° and 160° it should be done. You’ll have a small hole in the top, but that’s not end of the world once you cut it. Or put a nut there. Whatever works.

6. Finally, this cheesecake does not need a garnish in my opinion, but if you’d like one that won’t give you diabetes (I’m looking at you Dulce De Leche) I've got a great Bourbon sauce:

Bourbon Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons Bourbon

Melt butter, sugar and heavy cream over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and SLOWLY add the bourbon. Stir completely. Serve warm. (You can make this without the heavy cream it is just a little runnier).

PS: This recipe makes a HUGE but shallow cheesecake (10” springform pan) or a thicker cheesecake in a 9" springform pan. BUT you can cut the recipe in half without loosing flavor/consistency. I do that and make one smaller cheesecake (6” springform pan), or two small cheesecakes (4” springform pan). I make a full batch, using the 4” pans to give away at Christmas. I can get 4 small cheesecakes from a full batch.

PPS: This cheesecake freezes well. I've eaten it after freezing for about 3 weeks and it was still delicious.

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