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Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I always love the opportunity to add a cheese plate to a meal. I particularly enjoy cheese plates that include a little honey or honeycomb with the cheese, adding a sweet contrast to some of the funkier or saltier cheeses on the plate. This Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust is inspired by a cheese plate! The rich cheesecake is made with honey to give it a deep sweetness that contrasts well with the tang of cream cheese, while the pecan crust adds a slightly savory crunch for a texture that sets off the creamy cheesecake.

The honey cheesecake filling is easy to make. It can be done in the food processor or with a hand mixer. The filling includes a generous amount of cream cheese and both sugar and honey. Since honey is so dense, I find that adding a bit of sugar to the filling gives the finished cheesecake a more balanced texture. The honey is where most of the flavor in this recipe comes from, so it is worth choosing a good one to work with. Choose a honey with a rich, citrusy flavor for best results – one that is a local/raw or made from wildflowers is a good place to start. IF you work with a honey that is too mild, you won’t get as much honey flavor in the finished cheesecake.

You can use a prebaked graham cracker crust with this honey cheesecake filling, but you won’t get that delicious nuttiness of the pecans, which add a lot of depth to the dessert. As a result, I really encourage you to try the crust for this recipe, too. It starts with graham cracker crumbs and toasted pecans. You’ll need about 8-10 sheets of graham crackers to make enough crumbs and about 1 cup of toasted pecans. Both can be ground into crumbs in the food processor. You may have a bit extra if you have a standard (vs deep dish) pie crust, but when it comes to crumb crusts it is better to have a little extra crumb to work with than not enough!

The crumb crust has a delicious hint of honey from the graham crackers and a warm nuttiness from the pistachios. It’s not overly sweet on its own, although it does have a small amount of sugar added to it. The crust does need to be prebaked, but the filling can be poured in while the crust is still hot, so this recipe doesn’t take all that much time from start to finish.

The cheesecake will be ready to eat as soon as it has cooled to room temperature, but I highly recommend refrigerating it overnight and serving it the next day. Once chilled, the creamy cheesecake will feel much richer. Even better, the honey flavor will be amplified after the cheesecake sits, so you’ll taste more honey in every bite. Serve with toasted pecans if you really love nuts, or top with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a bit of contrast!

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely ground toasted pecans
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
7 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Honey Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make Graham Cracker Pecan Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to toss together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 12 minutes on bottom oven rack. Remove from oven and set aside while filling is prepared.

Make Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in the honey, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour into baked crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is just set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Serves 8-10.

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