Decadent maple pecan cheesecake is perfumed with maple in every
My first realization of the magic of maple syrup was my first time skiing, at 8 years old. I was in ski classes at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont and our instructor took us to this little cabin on the mountain where they gave us a bowl of vanilla ice cream with warm maple syrup on top. The smell alone was intoxicating. Consider my mind blown.
For years, my dad was a volunteer ski ambassador at Killington, in Vermont, and he would keep our house stocked with great maple syrup and those melt-in-your-mouth maple leaf candies.
Now, what does this all have to do with cheesecake? Well, as soon as I tried the maple sugar from Mohawk Valley Trading Company, the smell brought me right back to my memories of eating those candies when my dad got home from a weekend trip.
I knew I wanted to get the pure maple syrup flavors into a cheesecake.
On top is a quick maple caramel made using the maple sugar, butter, and heavy cream. Toss in some toasted pecans and it becomes an addicting silky topping for the cheesecake.Print
Maple Pecan Cheesecake
Decadent maple pecan cheesecake is perfumed with maple in every last layer, including a maple caramel studded with buttery toasted pecans.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 80 minutes
- Total Time: 26 hours
- Yield: 12 servings
1 1/2 cups ground graham cracker (12 crackers)*
1/2 cup ground pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
32 ounces (4 blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup maple sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan (bottom and sides) with two large pieces of foil.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all crust ingredients until combined and slightly sticky.
- Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan to form an even layer of crumbs with about 1 inch of crust up the sides (it doesn’t have to be straight across). Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until entirely smooth with no lumps, about 2 minutes. Add sugars and beat until blended. Add the eggs and beat until fully combined. Add cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and beat just until combined and smooth. Pour batter over the cooled crust and spread evenly.
- Place the cheesecake and pan inside a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with 1-2 inches of water, but not enough that it will sneak through the foil. This water bath will keep the cheesecake from burning around the edges. Place the roasting pan and cheesecake into the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 225°F and to bake for 65-70 minutes until golden around the edges and the sides are set but the center is still wobbly. Turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly to let in cool air, and leave the cake in the oven for 60 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and run a knife around the edges to prevent sticking. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
- While the cheesecake is cooking, or just before serving, make the caramel.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add maple sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring until lightened in color, fragrant, and bubbling, about 5 minutes more. Then, turn off the heat and immediately stir in cream and butter.
- Add in the toasted pecans and stir until combined. Let cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a glass container to cool completely.
- When ready to serve, warm the caramel in a small pot or in the microwave and serve alongside or on top of the cheesecake.
*Don’t grind the graham crackers and nuts too fine, like dust. You still want some texture so it will hold together and have a nice crunch.
You can replace pecans with almonds or walnuts if you prefer.
Cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.