38-ounce blocks cream cheese, room temperature (678g)
⅓cupsour creamroom temperature (80g)
For the Pecan Pie Topping:
¾cupfirmly packed light brown sugar(165g)
2cupstoasted pecan halves
For the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and salt until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to create and even layer. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool while making the filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated before adding the next. Stop to scrape down the bowl between the eggs. Sift in the flour and beat just until combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
Boil 4 cups of water. Place a casserole dish on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in the boiling water. Place the cheesecake on the baking sheet on the middle rack above it.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the center wobbles when gently shaken and the edges are slightly puffed. Turn the oven off and leave the oven door a few inches open. Let cool for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature. Chill for 6 hours or overnight.
For the Pecan Pie Topping:
About 45 minutes before you want to serve, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar. Stir until dissolved and bubbling.
Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until fully incorporated and bubbling again. Stir in the pecans and coat well. Cook for 1 minute. (Caramel will still be runny but thickens as it cools.) Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring frequently, until barely warm to the touch, about 40 minutes. (Transfer the caramel mixture to a bowl for faster cooling.)
Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake pan. Release the spring and remove the sides of the pan. Pour the cooled pecan topping over the top of the cake before serving.
To toast the pecans: In a skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans until browned and fragrant, around 5 minutes.
Do not be tempted to open the oven to peek at the cheesecake. The hot air will escape, and the cold air from the kitchen can go into the oven, causing the cheesecake to fall or crack.
For beautiful, clean slices of cheesecake, run your knife under hot water between cuts.
To bring your cream cheese to room temperature, leave it out the night before or heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power.
If you do not have graham crackers, you can use Biscoff, Oreos, digestives cookies, Nilla wafers, or shortbread cookies instead.
To tell if your pecan pie cheesecake has finished baking, gently shake the pan. If the cheesecake’s center is a bit jiggly, it’s done. You do not want to bake until the center is firm as it continues to set as it cools.