It’s what’s on top that makes cheesecake special

Robin McDaniel
This Paula Deen cheesecake tastes as good as it looks and is a perfect fit for your holiday dinner.

This Paula Deen cheesecake tastes as good as it looks and is a perfect fit for your holiday dinner.

As many of you have learned from reading In the Kitchen, I have a couple of weaknesses when it comes to baking. One is pasta, and the other is cheesecake. Over the years I have featured several different kinds of cheesecake: Raspberry topped cheesecake, crème de menthe cheesecakes, mocha flavored, to name a few, and I love them all!

For the holidays, however, I wanted something special, and I was lucky enough to find this recipe from one of my favorite cooks: Food Network’s Paula Deen. It has the basic cheesecake recipe, but a topping that is out-of-this world. This topping makes this a very special cheesecake, yet I found I had all the ingredients I needed to make it already on hand. That is one of the things I like about Paula Deen’s recipes. Most of the time, everything you need is in your refrigerator or pantry.

This cheesecake can be made a day or two ahead of time to help with your holiday cooking. This is truly one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tasted. The praline topping is very thin, but it adds not only flavor but a touch of elegance.

Merry Christmas.

(Editor’s note: Don’t miss Monday’s Blount Today when Robin will share a whole page of recipes that are perfect to feed those hungry football Bowl game watchers or New Year’s eve partiers.)

Aunt Peggy’s Cheesecake with Praline Topping

Paula Deen, The Food Network

Crust:

1 stick butter, melted

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs ( I used chocolate graham crackers)

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Praline Topping:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust: In a medium bowl, combine the butter, crumbs and sugar until well blended. Press into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, using the back of a large spoon.

Filling: In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Be sure the center is firm before removing the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the pan from the oven to a rack and allow it to cool completely. Release the springform and transfer the cake to a platter to serve.

Praline topping:

In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the corn syrup, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in nuts and vanilla. Cool slightly. Ladle the praline topping over the cooled cheesecake and serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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