Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie is a dulce de leche cheesecake layered with toasted pecans and a pecan pie filling, all topped and baked with more pecans. If you love pecans, try my Pecan Pie Recipe for another delicious dessert.
What is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de leche is added to the cheesecake in this recipe, but what is it? It is a rich and creamy sauce that is sweet like caramel and butterscotch but is made with sweetened milk, rather than sugar. There is some science behind the caramelization of the milk (Maillard reaction) that causes the browning, but I used a canned dulce de leche for this recipe, so I didn’t have to worry about that!
Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie Recipe
There are four parts that go together so well in this dessert–the toasted pecans, the crust, the pecan pie filling, and the cheesecake filling.
Toasted Pecans (full recipe below)
- Pecan halves
- Graham crackers
Pecan Pie Filling
- Light corn syrup
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- Dulce de leche
The first thing you will want to do for this Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie Recipe is to toast the pecans. Toasted pecans add a nuttier flavor and crunchier texture to the dessert. To toast the pecans, preheat the oven to 325°F and roughly chop the pecan halves.
Spread the chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake them for 5-6 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely (about 30 minutes). You can leave the oven at 325°F; that is the temperature you will be baking the pie.
How to Make the Crust
If possible, make your own crust. The store-bought crusts are okay, but they just aren’t up to par with the homemade ones. To make the graham cracker crust, you could buy the graham cracker crumbs or crush about 10 graham crackers.
If you have to crush your own crackers, add them to a food processor and process until you have a fine crumb. You could also use a rolling pin to roll over the cookies that are in sealed plastic baggies to get them into fine crumbs. A hammer also works, but just gentle taps!
Combine the crushed crackers and melted butter in a medium bowl until the mixture is combined. When mixing together the ingredients (with a fork), make sure every single graham cracker crumb is coated in butter. The butter acts as the binding agent, so when you see recipes that have piles of graham crackers left on the plate, it is usually because they were not coated with butter.
Press the crust into a 9-inch springform using your hand or the bottom of a glass to get the crust flattened across the bottom of the pan. Set that aside as you make the fillings.
Pecan Pie Filling
After the crust is made and the toasted pecans have cooled down, make the pecan pie filling for this Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie. To make the filling, first, get out a large bowl and whisk the eggs. Then, add the corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cornmeal, and salt and whisk everything together until the mixture is smooth. Set this aside and in a small, separate bowl, reserve 3 tablespoons of the filling to be used for the topping.
How to Make the Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Filling
This is where the dulce de leche (candy made of milk) comes into the recipe. To prepare this filling, use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. First, beat the cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and salt on medium speed for about a minute, or until smooth. Then, add the dulce de leche and beat for one more minute.
Assembling the Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie
Once the parts of this dessert are ready to go, it’s time to get it layered and baked!
- First, pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan, over the prepared crust.
- Next, evenly sprinkle 2 cups of the cooled, toasted pecans over the cream cheese mixture. Save the 1 1/2 cups of remaining pecans for the topping.
- Then, spoon the pecan pie filling over the pecans.
- Remember the 3 tablespoons of reserved pecan pie filling you set aside? Add the rest of the toasted pecans (1 1/2 cups) to that bowl to coat them.
- Arrange the coated pecans on top of the pie.
- Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes, or until the middle is set and slightly puffed up.
- Finally, let the pie cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Looking for More Dessert Recipes?
Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie is a dulce de leche cheesecake layered with toasted pecans and a pecan pie filling, all topped and baked with more pecans.
- 3½ cups pecan halves, roughly chopped and divided
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 10 crackers
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fine cornmeal
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup canned dulce de leche
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Roughly chop the pecan halves. Spread the chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Bake them for 5-6 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Add 6 tablespoons of the melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs and, using a fork, mix well. You want every crumb coated in the butter as this will be the glue that holds it together.
Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan. Pat them flat with your hand and then use a kitchen glass to press flatter. Start at the center, working out to the edges of the pan.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cornmeal, and salt, whisking until smooth. Set aside, reserving 3 tablespoons of this mixture in a separate small bowl.
In the bowl of your stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and salt on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until smooth.
Add the dulce de leche and beat for 1 more minute.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared crust.
Evenly sprinkle 2 cups of the toasted pecans over the cream cheese mixture. (The remaining 1 1/2 cups of pecans will be used as a topping.)
Spoon the pecan pie filling over the pecans.
Add the 1 1/2 cups of reserved toasted pecans to the 3 tablespoons reserved pecan pie filling.
Arrange the coated pecans on top of the pie. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the middle is set and slightly puffed.
Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours before serving.
OPTIONAL: Drizzle any remaining Dulce de Leche over top of pie before serving.