Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeUh oh. I’m in deep trouble. I started out with a plan to post a pumpkin cheesecake recipe yesterday, as a build-up to Thanksgiving on the 28th. Then, my friend Deneen posted a comment on Facebook about doing a praline pumpkin cheesecake! And that’s where it all went sideways, and I began a three hour trek through multiple recipes, comparing, considering – and ultimately, combining to create my own new version.

But before I get to the actual recipe, there’s an old lesson my dad used to quote, that puts my journey in the perfect light. It started off as a paragraph, but has since been shortened to the last sentence. It was something to the effect of:

The job of the engineer is to blahblahblahblahblahblah. However ( and here’s the part that has survived to this day), when you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember the initial scope of the project was to simply drain the swamp.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeOf course, there are many variations that use more “normal” language, and most replace the neck with another body part. Come to think of it, though, doing so reduces the problem. Obviously, having alligators all the way up to your neck is, in fact, worse than having them only half-way up your body. Sure it’s only a matter of degrees, and a fool’s debate, no different than concerning one’s self with which circle of Dante’s Inferno you’ll inhabit for eternity. Looking at the big picture, however, it doesn’t really matter if there are a hundred alligators, or two hundred. You’re still lunch. But when it comes to creating awesome recipes, it’s the details that matter. Which is why I bring up the whole neck or… you get the idea. Anyway, the point is, I got lost in a galaxy of details and have only recently found my way out again. And judging from this particular entry, you can see I’m still shaking off the effects. But, man! Was it ever worth it! Let me explain…

Pralines are a religion in Texas. At least in my family, and among those we know and love. And as far as we’re concerned, there is only one praline worth eating, and that’s Lamme’s Texas Chewies. They’ve been using the same family recipe for over a hundred years, and if you haven’t tasted their pralines, you haven’t tasted a praline. By the way, I see they now have a Habanero-tinged praline I’m going to have to order. They also have chocolate covered pralines and a lot of other confections, but it’s a rare day I’m willing to pass by the original and best ever, even for the chocolate version. Weird, I know; but there it is.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeThe point is that I just can’t toss up a recipe that mentions praline without doing some serious research, and research I did. And re-research. Then I had to restart my computer to finalize installation of some updates, then make my final decisions.  And here’s what I’ve decided:

I’ve combined and modified two ideas for a new crust idea that, for me, just puts the bottom over the top. The cheesecake filling is one I’ve done for years. It’s straightforward, combining the flavor of pumpkin pie with the density and creaminess of a classic cheesecake. The topping is where things get really interesting, and I’m going to offer several options for presentation. The ironic thing about the exercise is that I ended up back where I was in the beginning. You see, I already have a great praline sauce recipe that is very close to the original Lamme’s recipe. Once I remembered that, then remembered where the recipe was, I could close about eleventy-twelve tabs on my browser and start typing.

As I said: alligators; neck; swamp. But forget all that. Let’s go have some fun!

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeIngredients:

For the crust:

1-1/2 cups ginger snap crumbs
3/4 cup pecan crumbs
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter

For the filling:

3 (8 oz) blocks of cream cheese
1-1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 c. sour cream
1-1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin puree
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 lb butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pecan halves


Get everything ready for the crust and the topping:

Get the cream cheese out of the fridge right away, as you need that to be as soft as possible. Set it near the oven, perhaps even on top of it. (Place a plate in the center, or on a burner; put the cream cheese on that.)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeStart butter to melting. As soon as it’s melted, get it off the heat, as you want it to cool somewhat before working with it.

Get your bowls and implements of destruction together. This includes an 8″ or 9″ springform pan. I prefer the 8″ because you end up with a taller slice of cheesecake. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then spray with cooking or baking spray.

Measure everything out and group it according to which part of the recipe needs it.

Crush the ginger snaps and grind the pecans down to an equal size. My favorite way to do both is a blade coffee grinder, which works extremely well. Just put a few pecans or crumbled ginger snaps in at a time. You can also crush the ginger snaps by placing them in a zippered storage bag, then running over them with a rolling pin. Another option is a food processor if you’ve got one.

In a large bowl, use a whisk to combine crushed ginger snaps, pecans, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and coat all crumbs thoroughly.

Press crumbs into bottom of springform pan and up the sides an inch or more. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeIn a stand mixer or large bowl (using hand mixer), beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.

Add brown sugar and beat until smooth – about a minute.

Add eggs one at a time and beat for 20-30 seconds after each addition.

Add sour cream and beat for about a minute, until well incorporated.

Add pumpkin, spices, flour and vanilla and beat again until everything knows everything else and it’s all happy.

By now, the crust should be cool enough to handle. Set pan on three layers of aluminum foil. Bring foil up sides of pan. This is to make sure no water gets in the pan during baking.

Set springform pan in roasting pan. Place on center oven rack. Pour boiling water into roasting pan until it’s about half-way up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully slide your center rack back into the oven.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeBake at 350° for one hour, or until filling is set and nicely browned and golden on top. The sides should be set, but the middle should still jiggle a bit. Don’t worry, it will settle down when it cools.

Cool cheesecake on a rack for 30 minutes to an hour. When cooled, refrigerate for at least several hours before serving.

To serve, remove cheesecake from the pan and set on a serving plate.

When you’re about ready to serve, say a half hour before, make the topping:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place pecan halves in single layer on cookie sheets and bake for about 8 minutes, give or take, until pecans are browned and smell awesome!

In a small pan, heat corn syrup and both sugars until boiling, stirring a lot. You may not need to sir constantly, but keep an eye on this. Boil for a minute and a half, then remove from heat.

Stir in butter until melted.

Add cream gradually, stirring as you go.
Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

Return to heat and boil without stirring until syrup thickens and is all happy, about seven or eight minutes.

Remove syrup from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool for ten to fifteen minutes before serving.

While waiting for the syrup to cool, cut slices of cheesecake and place on individual plates. Top each slice with several pecan halves, nicely arranged.

Just before serving, spoon syrup over the top of the pecans and cheesecake. Add a dollop or two of whipped cream, if desired (yeah, just do this) and serve immediately.


I know this recipe can seem a bit complex, and to some degree, it is. But if you break it down into separate components – crust, filling, topping, it’s a lot easier to get through. It also helps a lot to get everything together before you start. This ensures you don’t have to stop in the middle of a step to get your ingredients together.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeThere are two steps here that you won’t always find elsewhere – baking the crust, and toasting the pecans. Yes, you can skip those steps, but you’ll have a much better result if you follow them.

There are several ways you can modify the topping if you choose:

1. Chop the pecans instead of leaving them whole. Stir the pecan pieces into the syrup. You can then pour the topping onto the cheesecake (after cooling the topping a bit), so that you have a layer over the entire top of the cheesecake.

2. Keep the pecan halves intact, but still stir them into the syrup. Then, after the syrup has cooled a bit, you can spoon both pecans and syrup over the top of each slice.

3. With either pecan halves of chopped pecans, stir them into the syrup, then spoon onto parchment paper or aluminum foil in bite-size chunks. Let cool completely, then add a few to each slice.

You now have four options from which to choose.

Manly Kitchen Pumpkin Praline CheesecakeOne important detail is how you slice the cheesecake. It helps a lot to wipe your knife clean after every slice. This ensures each slice is clean. Simply wipe blade clean, then run under hot water and wipe again to make sure you’ve gotten everything off the knife.

The only problem today is that I’m not going to be able to show you exact pictures, as I didn’t actually prepare this cheesecake today. So the pictures show you several different ways to present your amazing creation. Just choose the one that looks best to you and run with it.

I’ve got to tell you: preparing this recipe has made me really want a slice of this. So I’m going to make one for Thanksgiving. I’ll do the cheesecake the day before, and prepare the topping just before serving. And I know for certain my guests are going to love it! I’m sure yours will, too. So try this one out and have a Very Happy Thanksgiving. Then come back and tell me how it went, OK? And make sure that, for every step, you have fun and…

Play with your food!


I have more Dessert Recipes here.

Did you like this recipe? What recipes would you like to learn? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts! (And don’t forget to LIKE this post!) Share it using the tiles below.

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About Lane

Lane Baldwin is a an internationally-acclaimed singer, songwriter, author and food lover. He wasn't trained in France, and he doesn't have his own TV show. He just loves to cook, and loves sharing what he's learned over the years. In his "real life," Lane has toured the world, bringing his special brand of Blues-infused Americana to millions of fans. At home he leads a quiet life filled with good books, good food and good friends.