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Two things to note about this cheesecake. 1) I did not make the cheesecake shown below. My aunt-in-law, Janie, made this gorgeous creation. 2) This was featured in Southern Living’s November 2011 issue.

We had 4 desserts on our Thanksgiving table but this one stole the show. Though the praline topping may seem like it will be too sweet, you really should try it. It perfectly complements the cake. I would make this cheesecake for anyone to whom I want to say “I really like/love/value you!” Not to dense, not too sweet, perfectly pumpkin-y.

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Cake:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

The Topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Beat cream cheese and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended and smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin and lemon juice, beating until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides of pan.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours. Remove sides and bottom of pan, and transfer cheesecake to a serving plate.

Bring first 3 praline topping ingredients to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Boil, stirring occasionally, 1 minute; remove from heat. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Use immediately. Garnish with pecan halves.