Recipe

Al Copeland’s Favorite Cheesecake

A no-bake filling and pecan-filled crust make this dessert easy to love

photo: Courtesy of Sam Hanna

A dense, pecan-rich crust with a light, fluffy, no-bake filling. This was Al Copeland’s favorite cheesecake. Coming of age in the 1950’s gave rise to fond childhood memories. We love it too. —Excerpted from Secrets of a Tastemaker, a compilation of recipes from Popeyes founder Al Copeland.

Read more about Copeland, and the new cookbook, here.


Ingredients

  • Pecan-Crust Cheesecake (Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake)

    • ½ cup Bisquick biscuit mix

    • ½ cup all-purpose flour

    • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar

    • 1 cup pecan pieces

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    • 2 cups granulated sugar

    • 1 ½ tbsp. pure vanilla extract, preferably Ronald Reginald’s Melipone brand

    • 5 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

    • 1 lb. non-dairy whipped topping, such as Cool Whip (about 6 cups)


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the Bisquick, flour, and dark brown sugar, breaking up any large chunks of brown sugar. Add the pecan pieces and butter and stir until evenly blended.

  3. Using the pan as a guide, cut a circle of parchment paper to fit inside the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Spray the pan with a little cooking spray to help the parchment stay in place, and press the paper onto the bottom. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan and press it into an even layer, about ½-inch thick, on the parchment. The smooth bottom of a small water glass or dry measuring cup aids in pressing the crust mixture into the pan.

  4. Place the springform pan on a sheet pan and bake the crust in the oven until browned and cookie-like in appearance, about 13 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool to room temperature before filling. Turn off the oven. 

  5. Combine the sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix at high speed until the sugar is evenly colored, about 1 minute. Add the softened cream cheese and continue mixing until thoroughly blended, about 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides, bottom, and paddle. Mix at high speed again for 2 minutes more.

  6. Add the non-dairy whipped topping, adjust the speed to low, and mix for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use the rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl’s sides, bottom, and paddle again. Fold the ingredients from the bottom to the top (it is crucial that the sugar is distributed evenly throughout the mixture). Return the bowl to the mixer and mix at low speed for 1 minute more.

  7. Scoop the mixture into the crust and smooth it into a slight dome using an offset or clean rubber spatula. Tightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing (the knife should be able to penetrate easily). Serve plain or with a fruit sauce topping.

Reprinted from Secrets of a Tastemaker: Al Copeland: The Cookbook, copyright © 2022 by Chris Rose and Kit Wohl with the Copeland Family. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Sam Hanna. Published by the Cookbook Studio.


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