I’m a last minute planner for almost everything in my life, especially when it comes to holidays. I hadn’t finalized my Thanksgiving menu until just today. I mean, most of the menu is filled with things I make every year, but some dishes, I like to try new twists on or something totally different, just to surprise my family. With that being said, I know that there must be some people out there just like me, who are waking up today thinking, “What am I going to make on Thursday?” If that’s the case, and you’re stressing out about what dessert you should make, I’ve got you covered. This post is dedicated to you, and believe me, everyone will be happy that you decided to add this to your menu.
My collaboration this month for Go Bold With Butter is this stress-free Buttered Pecan Cheesecake Tart! I say it’s stress free because the tart is practically no-bake. The crust gets baked for just a little bit, to get it browned and crispy, but that doesn’t count. That’s easy. That’s as far as the baking goes. And if you really wanted to, you can make the crust with graham crackers and melted butter instead and not bake it at all. The best part is that you can make it a day or two before the big day. It’s actually best when the tart has a chance to chill and set in the fridge for a while. So I recommend that you save yourself the stress on Thursday and make as much as you can ahead of time. Free up that oven space and whip up a delicious tart instead of the normal pumpkin and apple pie that everyone is used to. This year, try something new!
There are a few steps to this tart before we get to the part of devouring it all in one sitting, right after stuffing our faces with turkey and all those sides, of course. The first thing we need to do is get the crust going. To me, the crust is always the best part to any pie, tart or cheesecake.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and pecans. Pulse until the pecans are finely chopped and the entire mixture is well combined. Add the cold cubed butter and pulse a few times, in short intervals, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas.
**Note: Try not to over pulse the butter into the flour, as little bits throughout the dough will make it tender and flaky.**
While the food processor is running, stream in a few tablespoons of ice cold water until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before rolling out.
**Note: This can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to use. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months and just leave it in the fridge to thaw, the night before.**
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a large circle, about 1/2 an inch thick, and then transfer it to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. You can also just press the dough into the pan, making sure to go up the sides. Poke a few holes throughout the bottom and bake until golden brown and slightly puffed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the tart cools, let’s work on that cheesecake filling. The best part of this cheesecake is that the filling is no bake. So literally you don’t have to work that hard. In a small bowl, whisk together milk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. In a medium saucepan combine more milk and more sugar and cook until warmed through. Then temper the egg yolk mixture with the warmed milk. Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook until thickened.
Continue to cook the custard over medium heat, stirring often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until thick.
**Note: Make sure to keep an eye on the custard at this stage and babysit it because you don’t want it to stick or burn.**
Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth and clump free. If for some reason the custard is lumpy, you can strain it through a fine mesh sieve.
Pour the custard into the cooled crust, spreading it out into an even layer. Cover the top with plastic wrapping, making sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but overnight would be best.
Because we all have a million things going on Thanksgiving anyway, this would be the best thing to do the night before. The cheesecake is best when super cold because the custard will set, making it easier to cut and serve.
When the tart has cooled, make the pecan praline topping. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and salt. Cook until the butter has melted and the mixture has bubbled. Stir in the chopped pecans and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Pour the mixture over the tart, spreading it over the top.
Return the tart to the fridge and allow to chill for at least 1 hour before serving. When you’re ready to serve the pie, make a batch of fresh whipped cream. Beat the cream on high with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag and pipe out a border along the edge of the tart. You can also just serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, if you don’t want to deal with the pastry bag and piping out.
You can easily switch things up by adding melted chocolate to the cheesecake filling. Try melting about 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and then fold it into the cheesecake filling, after it’s thickened right before pouring it into the tart. Or try a pumpkin variation by mixing in 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, while the custard cooks on the stove!
If you’re tired of the traditional pumpkin and apple pie each Thanksgiving, then you have to give this Buttered Pecan Cheesecake Tart a try. Head on over to the GO BOLD WITH BUTTER site to grab the recipe for the upcoming holiday.
I hope everyone has a great and safe Thanksgiving filled with so many great memories and of course, lots of delicious food. This is the holiday of food to end all food holidays. So the most important thing to remember is that calories don’t count here and if you’re not eating from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, all day, then you’re not doing it right!
**Thank you for your continued support of the occasional sponsored post on this site. They help keep the blog going, allowing me to continue to share my recipes with you on a weekly basis. I never want my sponsorships to feel forced, which is why I only partner with companies I feel very passionate about and actually use on a regular basis.**