Sorghum Pecan Praline Cheesecake

Recipe Developed by: Brenda Watts, Sorghum Recipe Showdown 2nd Place WInner

For Sorghum Cheesecake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons Sorghum syrup
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 packages (8-oz. size each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Sorghum syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

For Sorghum Toasted Pecan Praline Topping:
1 package (6-oz.) pecan halves
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sorghum syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Sorghum syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch non-stick springform pan, with removable rim. Place the greased prepared pan over top of the center of 3 sheets (about 18-inches each sheet) heavy-duty foil, and securely wrap the foil sheets around the outside bottom and sides of the greased prepared pan.
2. In a small bowl, stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup together until combined and blended, In a medium bowl, toss graham cracker crumbs and sorghum butter mixture together until crumbs are moistened. Press the moistened crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake crumb mixture in pan for 8 minutes to form crust; remove from oven and cool over a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
3. Prepare cheesecake filling. In a large bowl. beat cream cheese, sour cream, 1/3 cup brown sugar and flour together, using an electric mixer, over medium speed, for 3 minutes, or until well blended and smooth. Gradually, add the 1 cup sorghum syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 4 eggs, (one egg at a time), and continue beating an additional 3 minutes longer, beating from a low speed an increasing to medium speed setting, or until cheesecake filling mixture has become well blended and creamy. Pour cheesecake filling mixture evenly over crust in pan. Place pan in the center of a large baking pan, (i.e. roasting pan), carefully, pour in very hot water in large baking pan, around the filled prepared pan, with up to 1-inch of water. Carefully, place the water filled baking pan with the filled prepare pan in the preheated oven.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 15-minutes, or until center is almost set but slightly giggles. Remove from oven, carefully, remove pan with cheesecake out of water filled baking pan, and gently remove the wrapped foil away from pan with cheesecake. Place cheesecake with pan onto a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Using a thin sharp knife, run the knife around the edge of pan to loosen edges; cool cheesecake in pan for 2 to 3 hours in refrigerator.
5. Meanwhile, prepare glazed toasted pecans. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with a large sheet of parchment paper. Place the pecan halves evenly flat over the parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons brown sugar over top of the pecan halves evenly and drizzle 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup over top of the pecan halves. Using a large spoon toss the pecan halves with brown sugar and sorghum syrup to evenly coat and place the pecan halves flat over the parchment paper lined pan. Place pan in heated oven and bake glazed pecans halves for 8 minutes, or until pecans are lightly browned and glazed. Place pan over wire cooling rack, using a large spoon, evenly toss the warm glazed pecan halves to separate and evenly coat the glaze; let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Prepare praline topping. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart non-stick saucepan, over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons sorghum syrup into melted butter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until blended and heated through, stirring constantly. Stir in the heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt into sweetened buttered praline mixture, continue cooking, stirring constantly until praline mixture comes to a boil. Simmer praline mixture until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
7. Assemble and serve cheesecake. Remove side rim of pan from cheesecake. Place cheesecake onto a large round serving plate or cake plate. Place the glazed pecan halves flat onto the top of the cheesecake, starting at the outer edges and ending into the center. (covering the top of cheesecake with glazed pecan halves). Spoon or pour the praline topping over the top, evenly, of the placed glazed pecan halves and cheesecake. Using a water moistened sharp knife cut the cheesecake into 12 serving slices. Serve and enjoy. Keep any leftover cheesecake stored in refrigerator.