Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
To prepare the pan, layer 2 large heavy-duty foil and put a 9-inch springform pan in the middle, as pictured. Wrap the pan with foil tightly.
To make the crust, combine graham crackers and 1 cup of pecans in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs, 30-45 seconds.
Pour in melted butter. Pulse again until the mixture is wet-sand-like texture.
Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan. If desired, use the remaining 1 cup of pecan half for decorating the crust by standing up each pecan half around the edges of the crust. If needed, use the graham cracker mixture to secure the nuts in place. Then evenly spread and press the crust mixture onto the bottom and all the way up the sides. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. (See step by step photos in the post above.)
To make the filling, in a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and sugar and mix until nice and smooth, about 1 minute.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well before adding the next egg.
Add sour cream and mix until incorporated.
Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Mix until nice and smooth.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared springform pan.
Place the cheesecake pan in a large roasting pan
and pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan.
Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake is set, but the center is slightly wobbly. Turn of the heat, open the oven door ajar, and cool the cheesecake in the oven slowly for 1-2 hours.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Then cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
To make the pecan pie topping, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add pecans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Butter should turn light brown.
Stir in sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium heat for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla. Cool the topping and then spread over the chilled cheesecake before serving.
If desired, make a homemade whipped cream. In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until soft peaks. Add sugar and whip until hard peaks. Transfer into a pastry bag with round tip and pipe it around the edges before spreading the pecan pie topping.