For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground Maria cookies, vanilla wafers or graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
For the cream cheese filling:
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
For the dulce de leche topping:
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1 14-ounce can dulce de leche or cajeta
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Butter a 9- to 10-inch springform pan and set aside.
To make the crust:
- In a large bowl combine the ground cookies and melted butter until thoroughly mixed. Turn the cookie mixture into the springform pan. With your fingers, pat it evenly around the bottom of the pan, gently pushing it up the sides to make a crust 1/2- to 1-inch tall. Refrigerate while you make the cream cheese filling and dulce de leche topping.
To make cream cheese filling:
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth and light, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until well mixed, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, again scraping down the bowl as needed, and continue beating until the mixture is well blended and smooth, set aside.
To make the dulce de leche topping:
- In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the dulce de leche until combined.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator. Gently spread the cream cheese filling evenly, trying not to distress the crust. Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until it is set and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before you add the dulce de leche topping.
- Spoon the dulce de leche topping over the cream cheese filling, add the pecans all around the edge and place the pan back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. It tastes even better if it chills overnight.
- Before serving, run the tip of a wet knife around the edge of the pan to release the cheesecake. Remove the ring, then slice and serve the cake.