Around the world in 80 dishes No. 59: Praline cheesecake

Ingredients to serve 10-12

For the crust

115 g unsalted butter, softened
175g granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose or plain flour
250g spiced pecans, finely chopped

For the cheesecake

900g cream cheese, softened
350g light brown sugar
Half a teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
275g sour cream

For the praline top

60g unsalted butter, softened
60ml double cream
225g light or dark brown sugar
175g pecan halves
A pinch of kosher salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Butter a round cheesecake pan with a removable bottom, 23 x 8cm. Wrap the bottom and partly up the sides with foil. Or use a 23cm diameter springform pan.

For the crust, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir. This can also be done in an electric mixer on low speed. Unlike other nut crusts, we like this one to have chunkier bits rather than processing everything into meal. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and partially up the sides. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until light, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and mix for another 4 minutes or so. Next add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the sour cream. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until set. The cake usually rises evenly and cracks around the edges. Cover loosely with foil if it appears to be browning too quickly. The middle will no doubt appear to wiggle, but trust that it is done. It should wiggle as one piece, not be sloshing under the surface. Leave to cool completely in the pan.

For the topping, combine all the ingredients except the pecans in a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring continuously, heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, stir in the pecans, then do your best to pour the mixture over the cheesecake. You may need to nudge the nuts a little to get them into place. They don't always cooperate when poured. Let the praline cool to room temperature before chilling until ready to serve.

Taken from 'Baked in America' by David Muniz and David Lesniak (Ebury Press, £16.99).

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