I saved this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Mexican Spiced Pecans and Dulce de Leche for last. Probably because it’s a bit over-the-top and a bit dangerous. It’s that dessert that will push you over the edge, but you must have all the same.
This cheesecake has THE perfect consistency. The spiced pecans are not predictable. They grab you and hold you captive. The sweet dulce de leche is the final touch that makes this cheesecake far from ordinary.
Pumpkin lovers get their fix. Cheesecake lovers praise you. And those who like a hint of savory in their sweet, well they are right there with you too. The cayenne in those pecans is just noticeable enough to start the inquisition.
Even in a globally-inspired Thanksgiving meal where old meets new, pumpkin remains boss. Because you can toy with people’s emotions but you can’t mess with their pumpkin.
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch salt
- 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 can pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 can dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 350°F.
For the Crust:
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and all but 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl toss the pecans with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the pumpkin pie spice, cayenne, cocoa and salt to the pecans. Mix the pecans into the graham cracker crumbs.
Press the crust into the bottom of a springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and decrease the temperature to 300°F.
For the Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar, beating with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until it is smooth, but do not over mix.
Pour the filling into the springform pan. Place the pan into a roasting pan and pour warm water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the springform. This is called a “warm water bath.”
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 5 minutes until the cheesecake is firm but still has a slight wobble to it.
Remove the pan from the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature. Carefully spread a thin layer of the dulce de leche on top of the cheesecake using a silicone spatula. Then chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.
Remove the sides of the springform pan before serving.