Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

So, I found another use for the pumpkin liqueur that I purchased last week for our pumpkin martinis...pumpkin cheesecake! 

Unlike the pumpkin banana tort (which I did like, but it wasn't traditional enough for me) I tried in this post, I absolutely would serve this cheesecake for Thanksgiving dinner. 

I'm not a professional baker or chef, but I have been baking several cheesecakes a year for about 15 years now.  I'll give you some of my tips that I have found helpful over the years.

I like to line the bottom of the springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  I simply trace around the pan and cut out the paper.  I first use Pam to spray the bottom of the pan, put the parchment paper down, and spray with Pam again. I find that this process helps me lift the cake slices out of the pan for serving.

A couple other tips about pans is one, use the size called for in the recipe and two, if you take one to a party, it seems many people don't realize they aren't disposable...

For this cheesecake's crust I used gingersnaps that I crumbled in the food processor until I had  1 1/2 cups.  I mixed them with 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter.  Press the mixture firmly into a 9" springform pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.

Another big tip, read and understand your recipe well and have all your ingredients measured and ready before starting.  I have my kids help with this.  I have them smell each spice as we scoop them and then have them smell again when all the spices are together.

All ingredients, especially the cream cheese, should be at room temperature.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Mix 24 oz cream cheese, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour in a mixer until very creamy.  I mix on medium speed for about 15-20 minutes.  (I have no idea if this is too long or not, but I have found I like the texture and flavor of my cheesecakes ever since I started doing this step.) 
Once you add the eggs you want to mix nice and gentle though. 

Next, gently, but thoroughly, mix in 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk, then 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Then stir in 1 cup pumpkin puree, 3 tablespoons pumpkin liqueur, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. 

Purist don't like this step, but I don't like cracks and this helps.  I take 1 tablespoon of hot water and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Knox gelatin over it, stir until dissolved, and pour into the batter.  Mix the batter and then pour over your crust in the 9" springform pan. 

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 225 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Don't open the oven while baking!  Then, turn the oven off and let sit in oven for about 1 hour.  I run a knife between the pan and cheesecake if it starts to pull away from the side of the pan.  I then crack open the oven and let it cool some more.  And finally, I let it cool on a rack before placing it in the refrigerator uncovered overnight. 

I have found that making the cheesecake at least 24 if not 36 hours before serving is best, the flavors really blend by then.  I set the cake out for about 15 minutes before cutting.  Cutting is the part I still haven't found a perfect routine for yet.  I use a very sharp knife, dipped in hot water and cleaned before each slice helps.  Then I use a narrow spatula to slowly wiggle my piece free and it usually comes out just fine. 

It's pretty normal for cheesecakes to have fine cracks on the top, but if they bother you or they are large cracks, just put a topping on them and no one will know.  You can use fruit, nuts, whipped cream, or a melted chocolate glaze to name a few.

Baking a cheesecake takes some time commitment, so plot out how long it will take and the time you have before starting.  You can do this and people with think you are a goddess or god.  Enjoy!


TMCPhoto said...

that's it I'm putting a spring form pan on my wish list!

Great tips, I used to bake cheesecakes for work, we'd do a batch of about 20 cakes at once. I've never made one at home though.

littlewondersdays said...

TMCPhoto, I couldn't imagine making 20 at once. I bet you have some great tips and recipes!

Elle Belles Bows said...

YUM and your presentation is lovely too. Like the idea of adding the nuts to the platter! Kerri

Miss. Tarrah Dame said...

looks great! I just did a german version myself! :)

Christy said...

Wow, that sounds SOOOOOOOOO good!!!!!

Amanda said...

yum-o! It will be tricky going through my day with a pumpkin cheesecake craving...

Danielle said...

This looks amazing, and with my fiance being obsessed with pumpkin I may be forced to make this.

I'm a new follower from Show and Tell Saturday and can't wait to see (and eat) more!