Pecan butter tart cheesecake

By Anna Olson
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This dessert is meant to impress the butter tart fans in your crowd. A full butter tart square recipe forms the base, and a maple and brown sugar cheesecake layer takes it over the top!

Make ahead: You can store the baked but undecorated cheesecake in its pan, well wrapped, in the fridge for up to four days. It can be frozen, undecorated and well wrapped, for up to three months. Thaw the cake in the fridge overnight before decorating and serving.

SERVES
16
 TO
20
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

For the cheesecake base:

  • 1 recipe Signature Butter Tart Squares (below), made with 1 cup (100 grams) pecan halves or pieces and baked in a well-greased 23 centimeter round springform pan, at room temperature.

Cheesecake filling:

  • 2 packages (each 250 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) lightly toasted pecan pieces

For the butter tart base:

  • 1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100 grams) regular rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the tart topping:

  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter, melted (warm but not hot is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (150 grams) raisins or pecan pieces (optional)

Directions

For the cheesecake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Have the cooled butter tart base at hand in its springform pan.
  2. For the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese in a bowl using electric beaters, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high speed until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat well on high speed until dissolved, stopping to scrape down the bowl occasionally.
  3. Add the maple syrup and beat again on high speed, scraping the bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat again on high until smooth. This is the final step to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture, so scrape the bowl well.
  4. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time and then the yolk, beating well after each addition (and yes, scraping down the bowl). Stir in the pecan pieces by hand. Pour over the cooled butter tart base.
  5. Bake for about one hour, until the cheesecake jiggles in the centre but is set around the outside. (It will still look a little shiny on the surface at the centre.) Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes.
  6. Carefully run a palette knife around the inside edge of the pan (this will prevent cracks developing as the cheesecake cools). Once the cake has cooled to room temperature (check by touching the bottom of the pan, not the sides), chill the cheesecake, uncovered, for at least six hours, or overnight.
  7. To serve the cake, run a palette knife around the inside of the pan again and then loosen and remove the springform ring. Run your palette knife under the base of the cheesecake to loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Carefully slide the cake onto a serving plate.
  8. To decorate the cheesecake, you can top it simply with sweetened whipped cream or sweeten it up even more by adding a few pieces of maple fudge and maple toasted pecans as a garnish.

For the tart base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a 20 centimeter square pan with parchment paper.
  2. For the base, stir the flour, oats and brown sugar by hand in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir together until the mixture is rough and crumbly (like a fruit crisp topping).
  3. Press into the bottom of the pan, bake for 12 minutes to set (it will not brown) and then let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Leave the oven on. While the base is cooling, prepare the topping.
  4. For the topping, whisk the brown sugar, maple syrup and eggs together until combined. Whisk in the melted butter followed by the vinegar, vanilla and salt.
  5. Sprinkle the raisins (or pecans) (if using) in an even layer over the bottom of the base and carefully pour the maple syrup mixture over top (you can move the raisins or pecans around to realign them, if required).
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping bubbles just around the edges and is set when the pan is gently jiggled. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Note: To prevent the top fluid layer from seeping around the edges and underneath the base of your tart, press the crumbly base gently up into the edges of the pan, so there is a little lip before pouring. Resist packing the base in too firmly, otherwise it can shrink away from the edges after baking, creating a gap for the filling to leak underneath. This tip can also be applied to any square with a fluid filling, such as a lemon square.

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