Friday, November 18, 2005

Pumpkin Harvest Cheesecake

For my American readers, heading into Thanksgiving, I present to you a fabulous change from the usual pumpkin pie (not that there's anything wrong with it). I made this a while back and it was great.

Pumpkin Harvest Cheesecake

3/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp butter, melted

- Heat oven to 350F. Combine ingredients and press onto bottom of 9" springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (NOT the pie filling!)
3 eggs
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger and nutmeg
3 packages (250g each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

- Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, and spices. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch; blend into pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust. Bake 50 - 55 minutes, or until centre is just set.
- Remove from oven and run knife around edge of cake. Cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

As you can see, cheesecake isn't a complicated feat to take on. Here are a couple of tips, though, to help you not get a huge crack down the centre of your finished product.

1. Do run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake gently as soon as you take it out of the oven. The cake will sink as it cools (expansion and contraction of heated materials, etc.) and if you loosen the edges, they won't tug at the cake as it sinks.
2. Don't overbeat your filling. If you add too much air to it, it'll puff up too much and then sink even more as it cools.
3. Some recipes call for baking the cheesecake in a waterbath. I generally don't do this unless the recipe specifically states it. I have found that the extra moisture in the oven increases the baking time and inhibits the setting of the cake. But the waterbath does insulate the cake and this can help prevent cracking. Like I say, follow the recipe.
4. If you do get a crack, you can cover it by making a simple glaze using sour cream, a bit of sugar, and a bit of whipping cream to loosen it. I would only do that on cheesecakes that are predominantly white, though. In this case, just plate it and add a dollop of whipped cream, sift some cinnamon over top and voila! Enjoy!


mister anchovy said...

Until I was in my 20s I had this irrational fear of cheesecake - well, not just cheesecake, but anything with that texture - including cream cheese, chip dip, everything. I could detect it blindfolded. Then one day in my wild years (a brief but interesting period), I was at a birthday party for the singer for a band called Drums Along the Gardiner, and they brought out this enormous cheesecake. Well, I was feeling no pain, and when I saw it, all thoughts of my irrational fear disappeared. In fact I enjoyed a couple serious pieces. Since then, I've love the stuff. You go figure.

greatwhitebear said...

I love cheesecake, and I make an awsome one.. but this is definately getting made this weekend for Thanksgiving!

Isabella di Pesto said...

Another gorgeous winner, WC. I'm going to have to run for two months after eating this baby.

But it'll be worth it.


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