You'll have a hard time saving this pretty dessert for the end of the meal.

Anna Theoktisto

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Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe Summary test

active:
25 mins
cool:
2 hrs
chill:
6 hrs
total:
10 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
12
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This fall, we're shining a light on one of the most underrated fall fruits: Pears. Apples have historically gotten all of the attention, but these fall fruits are just as sweet. This Maple-Pecan-Pear Cheesecake is a true show-stopper.

A cheesecake is always an appropriate dinner party finale, but this version is perfect for the autumn months. This cheesecake really makes the most of pear season, with the fruit folded into the cheesecake batter itself and used to top the finished product. This recipe calls for Bartlett pears. Available in red or green, this kind brightens and turns sweeter as it ripens, unlike other pears, and imparts a light, floral flavor to this cheesecake. We simply adore the chunks of tender pear baked throughout the cheesecake, but the wow-factor comes from the maple-glazed pear and pecan topping.

Compared to a denser New York-style cheesecake, this version is lighter and slightly tangy from the sour cream. To achieve a really smooth texture, ensure that your cream cheese is at room temperature. A water baths may seem daunting, but it produces a perfectly flat, just-cooked cheesecake. Simply wrap your pan well with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in and creating a soggy crust. Cheesecake is a great make-ahead dessert; you could make the cheesecake up to 3 days in advance, then simply make the topping day-of and top just before serving.

Ingredients

Crust
Filling

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Crust: Preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, and butter in a bowl until combined. Firmly press into bottom and 1½ inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until set, 12 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 15 minutes. Move oven rack to bottom position. Leave oven on.

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  • While Crust bakes, prepare the Filling: Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar, sour cream, flour, and vanilla; beat on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Fold in 1½ cups of the chopped pears until evenly distributed. Pour into slightly cooled Crust. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack in bottom position. Carefully add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan.

  • Bake at 325°F until center is set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from water bath. Carefully remove and discard foil from pan. Let cheesecake cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.

  • Cook maple syrup, ground ginger, and remaining 2 cups chopped pears in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring often, until pears are just tender and maple syrup has thickened, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans; cool 10 minutes. To serve, remove from pan; spoon warm pear mixture over chilled cheesecake. 

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