To make pecan praline, spread pecans out on a parchment-lined baking tray and sprinkle with white pepper. Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil, uncovered. Without stirring, boil sugar mixture until a golden colour, occasionally brushing the sides with water ( This takes about 7 minutes ). Once colour is achieved, carefully pour caramel over pecans to coat. Cool until set ( this can take up to an hour ). Break praline into shards and pulse in a food processor until crumbly. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and place pan on a baking tray. To make crust, combine all ingredients until evenly blended and crumbly and press into bottom and halfway up the sides of prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, then cool. Sprinkle bottom of cooled crust with 1/2 cup of pecan praline. To make cheesecake, reduce oven to 325 F. Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, then gradually add brown sugar while beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Beat in cornstarch, vanilla and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time, scraping well after each addition. Scrape half of chcesecake filling into crust and sprinkle with 1 cup of pecan praline. Spread remaining cheesecake filling over praline and sprinkle top with 1/2 cup of praline. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn oven off and leave cheesecake in for 15 minutes more. Remove cheesecake from oven to cool to room temperature. Chill overnight before serving.
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