For the Crust:
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 organic, free range eggs
Cinnamon sugared pecan halves
Freshly whipped cream
Fresh whole strawberries (optional)
3/4 cup white karo syrup
1-1/2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (5.3 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
To Prepare the Crust:
In small bowl, combine the crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar and pecans. Stir in the melted butter. Press into the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. When ready to use, cover the bottom and sides of the pan with a piece of extra-wide, heavy duty aluminum foil.
To Prepare the Filling:
In bowl of electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup of brown sugar, milk, flour, and vanilla and beat at medium speed. Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until blended. Pour into the baked crust. To prevent cracking, prepare a water bath by adding hot water to a large roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the springform pan. Place the pan in the water bath. Very carefully place the pan into the oven. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until set. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a wire rack. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the outside of the springform pan and let the cheesecake cool completely. Arrange cinnamon sugared pecans on top of cake with mounds of freshly whipped cream. Surround the cheesecake with fresh strawberries and serve with Praline Sauce.
To Prepare Praline Sauce:
In small skillet over medium heat, combine the white karo syrup, brown sugar, butter and vanilla; heat, stirring constantly until it just begins to boil. Once it is boiling, remove from the heat and add the evaporated milk and pecans; blend very well. Cool in refrigerator. Makes 2-1/2 cups.