2 cups graham cracker crumbs
⅓ cup pecans, finely chopped
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1½ cups pureed pumpkin
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
for praline topping
1 cup brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup whipping cream
¼ cup butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarsely chopped pecans for garnishing

Making the Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, butter, and brown sugar until well blended.

3. In 9-inch spring-form pan, press mixture on bottom of pan and up the sides 1½ inches.

4. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

5. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.

6. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just blended each time.

7. Add pumpkin and lemon and beat until blended.

8. Pour batter into prepared crust.

9. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn off oven and let cheesecake stand, oven door closed, for an extra 15 minutes.

10. Remove cheesecake from oven and gently run a sharp, thin knife around the outer edge to loosen the cake from the pan (but do not remove the pan).

11. Allow it to cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours and remove from pan and transfer to a cake stand or large plate before preparing praline topping.

Topping and Garnish
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter to a boil, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute, stirring often, then remove from heat.

2. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until mixture is smooth.

3. Let stand five minutes, whisking occasionally.

4. Immediately pour over top of cheesecake, slowly. Spread to within ¼-inch of the edge. Sprinkle pecans on top. Serve or chill.

Adapted from Southern Living

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Nikki Bowman
Written by Nikki Bowman
Nikki Bowman, a West Virginia native, is the founder and owner of New South Media, Inc., which publishes the critically acclaimed WV Living, WV Weddings, West Virginia Focus, Explore, and Morgantown magazines. In January 2015, her company also took over the editorial and design of Wonderful West Virginia magazine. She graduated from West Virginia University and received her master’s degree in Writing from DePaul University in Chicago.