It's natural for this cheesecake to have cracks on the top, but they will be covered by the buttery praline mixture.
Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2005
To prepare praline, coat a 10-inch sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons water, corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 5 minutes). Continue cooking 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat; carefully stir in pecans, 2 teaspoons butter, and salt. Immediately pour onto prepared foil, spreading to a thin layer. Cool completely. Break praline into small pieces. Place in a food processor, and process until coarsely ground.
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare crust, combine cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, melted butter, and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Toss well with a fork. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
To prepare filling, place sweet potatoes in food processor; process until smooth. Remove from processor. Combine brown sugar, cheeses, and sour cream in processor; process until smooth. Add pureed sweet potatoes, flour, and the remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Add one-half of ground praline mixture; pulse 3 times or until blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes. Turn off oven. (Do not remove cheesecake from oven.) Let cheesecake stand in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 3 hours or overnight. Sprinkle top with remaining ground praline mixture before serving.
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