Maple Pecan Cheesecake

 
We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all our exploration
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.
— T.S. Elliot
 

Welcome back to Persona Kitchen this week everyone! I am very excited to share this recipe for my Maple Pecan Cheesecake. This recipe is just in time for Thanksgiving and is sure to wow your guests this year.

I have always been a big lover of cheesecake. Well, good cheesecake. The truth is that most cheesecake isn’t all that good. Over the course of many years and many, many cheesecakes, I have found that they are either too sweet, too dry, or both. Well folks, today I have a solution for you: Maple Pecan Cheesecake.

The graham cracker crust is really simple and easy to make. It is slightly different than your average “plain graham cracker pie crust”, however. It contains roughly chopped pecans which adds a slight crunchiness and nuttiness to the crust. I don’t like how most crust on cheesecakes are so dense that they end up being soggy. I think this happens when the moisture from the cheesecake seeps into the crust. In this recipe, I bake the crust before adding the filling and then it gets baked again when the whole cheesecake goes into the oven, and voilà! Perfect crust! I also opted to use browned butter which takes a little extra time but is worth it. After all, when is browned butter never a good idea? The browned butter and pecans create a crust with a hint of nuttiness that pairs perfectly with the maple in the filling and glaze.

This Maple Cheesecake Filling is moist, dense, smooth, tangy, and perfectly sweetened. There are a couple notes on this particular part of the recipe that I would like to go over because they are crucial to getting the perfect cheesecake.

Notes:

  1. Room Temperature Ingredients: It is absolutely crucial to use room temperature ingredients. To be honest, I never used to wait the extra time for my ingredients to come up to temp. The reason for doing this is because colder ingredients require longer mixing times to come up to temp, therefore incorporating more and more air into the filling. This creates an airy cheesecake that tends to crack after baking. Always allow your ingredients to come up to room temperature before starting on the filling. It makes all the difference, trust me.

  2. Use Pure Maple Syrup. As weird as it sounds, I didn’t know that there was real maple syrup and the flavored corn syrup that you get in those cute cabin-shaped bottles. You really need to use pure maple syrup in this recipe. It will taste and react differently if you don’t use the real thing. Luckily you can get really good quality maple syrup for under $8 at most grocery stores nowadays.

  3. Use Powdered Sugar. I got the idea to use powdered sugar because a while back when I was researching cookies (yes I do research on cookies) I found that granulated sugar is often creamed together with butter, creating air and lift to recipes. Since air is a cheesecakes worst enemy, I decided to try this recipe with powdered sugar and to my surprise, it worked!

  4. Crème Fraîche. It is a tangy cultured cream that is very similar to sour cream. I like using crème fraîche because it has a higher fat content so the cheesecake is even more dense and rich, score! Crème Fraîche is easy to find nowadays but you certainly can use sour cream if need be.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and give it a try for your Thanksgiving dessert this year! If you try this recipe, or any of my recipes, please take photos and share them with me on Instagram (@personakitchen). I would love to see your creations and to say hello! Thanks for visiting the blog this week, see you again next week!

Xx Bella

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Maple Pecan Cheesecake


Ingredients:

For the Pecan Crust

  • 1 ½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

  • ½ Cup Finely Chopped Pecans

  • ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar

  • ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 10 Tablespoons Browned Butter

For the Maple Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 Ounces Full Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature

  • 1 ½ Cup Crème Fraîche, room temperature

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons Flour

  • ¼ Cup Maple Syrup

  • ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 4 Large Eggs, room temperature

For the Maple Glaze:

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

  • 6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

  • 4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream (or more if needed)

For the Candied Pecan Topping

  • 1 Cup Halved Pecans

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

  • ¼ Cup Maple Syrup

  • ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Directions:

For the Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf. Line the outside of a 9 inch springform pan tightly with a couple pieces of foil (this reduces any chances of the cheesecake seeping out of the pan).

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and melt it, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook the butter until is browns and has a nutty aroma, about five minutes.

  3. In a bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, and salt and whisk until evenly combined. Add the melted browned butter and mix until combined.

  4. Dump the graham cracker crust evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Using your fingers or a flat bottomed measuring cup, press the crust firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan (try to get it as even as you can).

  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to while you prepare the filling. Turn the oven down to 325ºf.

For the Filling:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese on low speed (setting 2 on my stand mixer) for 2 minutes. Add in the créme fraîche, sugar, flour, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium low for one minute.

  2. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds.

  3. Set a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour the cheesecake mixture through it, discarding any big lumps. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the springform pan. Tap the cheesecake on the counter 5-6 times to release any air pockets.

  4. Place the cheesecake into the center of a large roasting. Fill the roasting pan up halfway with boiling water— this creates a water-bath that allows the cheesecake to cook more evenly.

  5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake until fully chilled— 3 hours at the least or preferably overnight.

For the Maple Glaze:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, heavy cream and whisk until the glaze is completely smooth and no lumps of powdered sugar remain. Add more heavy cream if necessary, the consistency should be something like a nice thick honey. Cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use.

For the Candied Pecans

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, toast the pecans over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until they start to smell toasty and aromatic.

  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter and toss until the butter is fully melted and coating the pecans.

  3. Add in the maple syrup and salt and stir to evenly combine all of the ingredients. Continue to cook the pecans until the mixture is thick and glossy, about three minutes.

  4. Dump the pecans onto a sheet of parchment paper and let cool completely.

To Assemble:

  1. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place it on a cake stand or plate. Pour the glaze on top and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it on the top of the cheesecake, but don’t let it overflow and go down the sides. Top with the candied pecans, slice, serve, and enjoy!