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Pumpkin Praeline Cheesecake
Pecan Praeline Powder: Cook granulated sugar over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet, shaking skillet occasionally until sugar begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the chopped pecans and cook about 3 minutes until sugar is golden brown and pecans are toasted. Stir occasionally. Pour the mixture onto the foil lined baking sheet, spreading with a wooden spoon as thin as possible. Cool.
Break or chop the cooled praline into 1/4-inch pieces. Set half of it aside. For Pecan-Praline Powder, place remaining broken pieces in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until ground. This can be stored in separate containers in refrigerator or freezer up to one week.
Crust: In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds until softened. Add the 1/4 cup brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 cup flour. Beat on low to medium speed until combined. Form dough onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Cool crust on a wire rack.
Filling: In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and flour with an electric mixer on a medium to high speed until combined. Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Add eggs all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the coarsely broken pecan-praline pieces, reserving the powder for the topping. Pour filling into the crust-lined springform pan. Place the springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until center appears nearly set when tapped.
Topping: In a small bowl mix sour cream and granulated sugar and spread over top of cheesecake. Remove springform pan from baking pan and place on a cooling wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Loosen sides of pie and cool some more. Remove side of the springform pan. Cool for about 1 hour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
Garnish: When ready to serve, sprinkle the Pecan-Praline Powder over sour cream topping in center of cheesecake and garnish with pecan halves, if desired.
Serves: 10 - 14
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