Praline Cheesecake

With swirls of caramel sauce and heaps of pecans, this cheesecake is stunning.

Praline Cheesecake
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup Caramel Sauce (recipe follows), plus more to serve
  • Garnish: toasted pecan halves
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water, divided
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, and pecans. Add melted butter, and stir until well combined. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Place pan in an oven roasting bag. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add flour, vanilla, and remaining 1¼ cups sugar, beating until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in sour cream.
  5. Place half of batter in a medium bowl, and fold in Caramel Sauce. Alternately pour plain and caramel batters into pan. Swirl batters using a knife.
  6. Place cheesecake in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to reach about 1 inch up sides of springform pan. (Make sure roasting bag reaches up higher than the water.)
  7. Bake until center jiggles slightly when gently shaken and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 150° to 155°, 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan and bag, and let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with Caramel Sauce. Garnish with pecans, if desired.
Caramel Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and 3 tablespoons water over high heat, being careful not to splash sides of pan. (It should be the consistency of wet sand.) Use remaining 1 tablespoon water to brush down sides of pan, and stir to help sugar dissolve. (Do not stir once it starts to boil.) Cook until desired dark amber color is reached. Remove from heat; slowly add cream, whisking to combine. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until combined. Let cool completely.