Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes

Pecan pie. Is there a more perfect fall dessert? Turns out, yes.

I am a huge fan of pecan pie. And cheesecake. (For the best cheesecake you’ve ever tried, check out Two Little Red Hens Bakery on NY’s Upper East Side. Yum.) So it was only natural to combine the two into these adorable, bite-sized Thanksgiving treats.

Let’s be honest, I’d eat these the other 364 days of the year, as well.

Unfortunately for John and I, multiple batches of these babies were baked and consumed this past week. The first attempt was less than perfect, but based on last night’s results, I’m happy to say that these are really freakin’ good.

You could certainly make these into one large cheesecake, but I am in love with the mini version. Don’t be fooled – one of these suckers will leave you full and satisfied.

…or on the other hand, one mini cheesecake means you’ll still have room for a slice of apple pie! I won’t tell.

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Time to bust out your amazing Williams Sonoma mini cheesecake pan. So darling.

I asked John to pick up some Nilla Wafers at the store for me and he came home with these adorable minis! How did he know? The large variety will obviously work just fine, but I think I’m in love.

Place the little cuties into a large Ziploc bag, then use a rolling pin, your hands, or whatever you like to crush into little crumbs.

Melt some buttah and combine with the cookies. (Not that I would know, but this by itself is delicious.)

Pour a scant tablespoon of crumbs into each cheesecake mold.

Use your fingers to carefully press the cookies down to form a crust. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the crust turns a light golden brown.

(I normally let my nose tell me when these are ready. You’ll be able to smell the buttery crust, and as soon as that happens, pull ‘em out.)

Set these aside and let cool while you work on the pecan filling.

In a large sauce pan, combine your sugar, dark corn syrup…

…butter, egg, pecans, and vanilla.

Stir to combine, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

As soon as this begins to boil, lower the heat to medium-low, then stir the mixture as it continues to reduce for about 10 minutes.

I would have taken a picture of the final product, but I was stirring with one hand and on the phone with the other, so it just wasn’t possible. Apologies.

When the filling has reduced, pour a tablespoon on top of each cooled crust.

Okay, onto the actual cheesecake!

You’ll need to whip 3 (8 oz.) containers of cream cheese. I used fat-free, because, well… pecan pie cheesecakes? You save where you can.

Once the cream cheese is nice and smooth, add brown sugar and some good ol’ flour.

Eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla go in next. Eggs one at a time, please.

Spoon a few cups of the cheesecake mixture into a small measuring cup — this will make it easier to pour.

Top off your pecan pie filling with a few tablespoons of cheesecake. Just make sure that the filling doesn’t go all the way to the top. (These will expand in the oven and then fall slightly as they cool.)

Bake for 18 minutes, or until cheesecakes are firm to the touch.

When they’re finished baking, let them cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.

Adorable!

Originally, I was going to make some caramel to drizzle on top of these. In the end, it was decided that caramel would be too sticky (they already have pecan pie filling in ‘em).

Instead, I grabbed my go-to container of mascarpone cheese (I use it on everything), added some powdered sugar, and whisked together until smooth.

Place a 1/2 tablespoon of the mascarpone-sugar mixture on top of each cheesecake. Use an offset spatula to smooth the filling into a small circle. Finely chop some pecans, place on top for a garnish, and bask in the glory of your perfect little desserts.

One little bite couldn’t hurt.

Heaven.

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