Butter Pecan Cheesecake and Sweet Potato Pie from Ann Cox Eastes

Ann Cox Eastes from Kroger made Butter Pecan Cheesecake and Sweet Potato Pie.

BUTTER PECAN CHEESECAKE WITH CARAMEL GLAZE

6 T butter, divided

16-18 pecan shortbread cookies, crushed

1 c plus 3 T brown sugar, divided

¼ t salt

1 c chopped pecans

4 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 t vanilla

4 eggs

10-12 caramels, unwrapped

1 ½-2 T half and half

Heat oven to 325F. Combine ¼ c (4 T) melted butter with crushed cookies. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan which has been coated with vegetable spray. Bake 10 minutes and remove from oven. Melt remaining butter (2 T) over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet and add 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Stir to melt butter and combine brown sugar. Stir in chopped pecans and stir 3-5 minutes or until nuts are evenly coated and glazed, stirring constantly. Remove nuts from skillet and spread onto parchment or waxed paper.

In a large bowl beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 1cup brown sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until combined and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until completely mixed. Pour half of batter into crust. Evenly sprinkle ¾ cup of chopped nuts over batter. Cover with remaining batter. Bake cheesecake in center of oven for 40-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Place a pan on a rack under cheesecake since some of butter will drain out from crust during cooking.

Let cheesecake cool in pan before running a knife around inside rim of pan to loosen cheesecake. Remove outside rim of springform pan. Place in refrigerator and let cheesecake cool for several hours before removing from base of pan.

Place cheesecake on serving plate. Sprinkle remaining ¼ c chopped, glazed pecans in center of cheesecake. Melt caramels and half and half in microwave for 1-1 ½ minutes. Stir to mix until smooth. Drizzle caramel sauce around the edge of cheesecake. Yield: 10-12 servings

SWEET POTATO PIE WITH MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE

½ (15-oz) pkg pie crusts

¾ c firmly packed brown sugar

¼ c cream cheese, softened

1 c milk

2 c mashed sweet potatoes

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

1 t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg and ginger

¼ t salt

4 egg whites

¼ t cream of tartar

½ c sugar

1 (7-oz) container marshmallow cream

Unroll crust and place pastry in pie plate; flute edges. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar and softened cream cheese; stir to mix. Gradually add milk and cook, stirring frequently until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow mixture to cool for at least 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt; beat until ingredients are combined. Pour into prepared crust and bake at 450F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and continue baking for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

While pie is cooking, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and increase the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the marshmallow cream with a wooden spoon. Spread meringue evenly over the hot filling, sealing to the edges of the crust. Bake 10-12 minutes longer until the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for an hour and then refrigerate several hours before serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings

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