Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

A while back, we attended a dinner party with a "fall" theme.  I signed up for the dessert (as usual) and the hostess selected a pumpkin cheesecake.  I used to say that I am not really a "cheesecake person" but now that I keep making them for I  might not like ALL cheesecakes, but I like the ones that I make!  The key is keeping it light.  I am not a fan of the cheesecake wherein you eat a few bites and feel like you just ate a bowling ball.  Those are just too much for me.  But these light ones that are nice and creamy just make me want to keep eating and lick the plate! 

I combined a few ideas for this particular cheesecake, so here is my recipe, which is based on "Gina's Pumpkin Cheesecake" by Patrick and Gina Neely of Food Network. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted from Food Network
Serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups crushed gingerbread cookies
1/3 cup crushed pecans
1-2 TB chopped crystallized ginger
4 TB unsalted butter, melted

4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
4 extra large eggs (or 5 large eggs)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use more if you use ground nutmeg, not freshly grated)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 TB all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salted Caramel Sauce 
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 TB corn syrup
1/2 c. whipping cream
2 TB unsalted butter
1 1/2 ts. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350F.   Place the gingerbread cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Add pecans and crystallized ginger and pulse a few times until well mixed.  Pour into a large bowl and stir in the melted butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom (not the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely while you prepare the filling.

Heat water in a teakettle and bring to a boil.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the spices through vanilla.  Mix until blended.  Add the flour and mix until the flour is incorporated.

Wrap the bottom and sides of your cooled springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Pour the filling into the pan and place the springform pan into a small roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan on the oven rack and then pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan, around the pan.  The water needs to go at least 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan, so you may need to boil more water.  If this is the case, VERY VERY CAREFULLY take the pan out of the oven while the water boils.  Place the pan back on the oven rack before pouring the additional water in the pan.  The more water in the pan, the easier it is to spill out while moving, so save your arms and place the pan on the rack first! 

Bake the cheesecake until the center moves slightly when the pan is gently wiggled, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Remove the cake from the water bath and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.  Serve with salted caramel sauce and cinnamon whipped cream.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and frothy.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until medium peaks form.

Salted Caramel Sauce:
Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, and stir to combine.  Place the saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil without stirring.  Swirl the ingredients in the pan occasionally.  Continue boiling until the mixture reaches a light amber color.  Remove from heat and very carefully add the cream in a slow steady stream, while stirring constantly.  Once combined, add the butter and salt and continue stirring until both are melted and combined.  Cool to room temperature before using.
Printable Recipe

Mmmm...  This combination of flavors is perfection! 

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