Southern Pecan Pie Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Pecan Pralines
Again, my husband was my inspiration. He loved chocolate. Not just any chocolate but dark chocolate. And pecan pie...of course with lots of pecans. I loved cheesecake, so I thought why not combined it all together? Every time I make this dessert --- I get comments like "Wow, this is powerful!" or "I can not stop eating this!" You have all the wonderful tastes of southern pecan pie bliss with textures that range from smooth richness of cheesecake easing into the silkiness of intense chocolate to the delightful ending crunch of pecan praline. Yes, this dessert has it all for every taste bud that live on your tongue.
It is important to set up everything before you begin because when you begin to create your master piece, you will not have the time to get all the preparation needed. So here it goes....
Take out 5 eggs and put in a bowel so they can get to room temperature...(about 20 minutes)
Get your cream cheese out too (those three 8 oz cream cheese packages)
Dust off your 10 inch spring form pan (you now have a reason to use it)
Take out the frozen pecan pie to defrost --- if you did not make it from scratch. And that's okay!
Once the pie has been thawed or its ready, cut into wedges like you would are ready to serve.
Making the Crust
3 packages of graham crackers
2 tbls almond flour
1/2 cup of butter, melted (I prefer Kerigold)
1/2 cup of sugar (you can use truvia sugar)
Melt the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in microwave until melted. Process the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Stir the butter mixture into the graham cracker crumbs. Press onto the bottom and sides of the spring form pan. Make sure the crust comes up about half of the sides and the bottom is press evenly.
Place the pecan wedges around like a wagon wheel in the pan.
3 (8 oz) Cream cheese packages, softened
1 cup of sugar
5 large eggs
2 tbls cornstarch
1/4 tsp sea salt
Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after addition. I know it takes time but its worth it. Stir in cornstarch and salt at the last.
Pour the filling into prepared crust and arranged pecan wedges. Carefully arrange pecan halves evenly around edge of cheesecake.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until almost set in center. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack until cool. Chill cheesecake for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Note: Make the chocolate Ganache and pecan pralines after the cheesecake has been chilled for at least 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
5 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
5 oz semi-dark chocolate (chopped)
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
Put the chocolate in a large bowl (I prefer a glass mixing bowl). Bring the cream to a boil in a sauce pan. Once the cream is ready, pour over chocolate. Let sit for 2- 3 minutes and then begin to slowly mix the chocolate and cream (I love this part where you get to enjoy watching how the chocolate gets so silky smooth). Once the ganache is blended and has beautiful silky feel. I love doing this part because it's kind of sensuousness but don't tell anyone it's our tiny secret.
1/3 cup of raw sugar
1 cup pecan pieces
Put sugar and pecans in a sauce pan at a low heat stirring frequently. When the sugar begins to melt; begin stirring constantly until the pecans begin to smell toasted and the nuts are well-coated (2-3 minutes)
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