Okay, so all these headings themselves are a big ball of cheese. Sue me, lol.
Who out there has eaten WAAAAY too much already? Lol. Count me in that crowd.
I love pumpkin anything. As I raved about in my “Wabbit Season!…Duck Season!…Wabbit Season!…Pumpkin Season” post, I definitely enjoy eating various foods made with pumpkin, whether savory or sweet. The first pumpkin dish I made this month was pumpkin cheesecake. Creamy, rich, and a sign of the season.
I didn’t make this dish for Thanksgiving, but I did make it for a cultural diversity potluck at work this past Monday. I got some positive response from coworkers, so I’m guessing it turned out well. It was almost another Cooking Fail due to some small mistakes made here and there (i.e. not buying graham crackers for the crust, and not putting the scant amount of flour into the cheesecake batter).
You’ll see some smaller, individual-sized cheesecakes in the pictures next to the large one. Those were made for testing purposes, and to make sure I had some left at home. All were made with the same crust and filling. This yields a semi-thick cheesecake, but not really the texture of a New York cheesecake, which is think and very rich. This is thicker than pumpkin pie, but thinner than a stiffer NY cheesecake.
And yes, finally, this one does have a concrete recipe. It’s probably why I don’t always do so well with baking/pastry/dessert stuff. I’m a non-measurer, so it takes a lot of discipline to follow instructions. Haha.
– 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
– 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
– 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
– 1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie filling)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– ½ to 1 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on how much cinnamon you like)
– ¼ tsp ground allspice
– freshly grated nutmeg (just a few short grates, not a lot), or 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Crust (Graham Cracker):
I didn’t make this one, because I forgot the crackers, but if you’re a traditionalist…
– 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
– 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
– ½ tsp ground cinnamon
– small pinch of salt
– 1 stick of melted butter (I prefer unsalted if you add the salt to the crust)
Alternate Crust (Shortbread):
I made this last minute because I didn’t have the ingredients to make a graham cracker crust, and I like shortbread crusts as well.
– 1 stick of butter (room temperature)
– ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar
– 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
– 1 large egg (room temp, beaten)
– Zest of 1 small lemon
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit)
Crust (Graham cracker instructions): This is the one I did not make this time
1: Break up graham crackers (or use pre-crushed crumbs) and measure out the 1 ¾ cups needed. Place in a bowl
2: Add cinnamon, sugar, pinch of salt, and butter
3: Combine until the mixture looks like wet sand
4: Press into a springform pan evenly across the bottom, and 1 inch or so up the sides
5: Place into oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes (it varies, check so that it does not dry out or overbake)
6: Take crust out of the oven, and let cool before adding filling
Crust (Shortbread instructions): I made this instead because I didn’t have graham crackers
1: Place room temperature butter in a bowl.
2: Add the lemon zest, beaten egg, sugar, and flour
3: Combine the ingredients until it resembles wet, sandy dough
4: Press the crust evenly into a springform pan and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan
5: Prick the crust all over with a fork so that it will not bubble as much
6: Bake in oven until it just starts to brown (varies by oven, but check at about 10-15 minutes)
7: When it starts to brown, take the crust out of the oven and let cool before adding filling
1: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or if using a hand mixer, a large metal or glass bowl), open all 3 packages of room temperature cream cheese. To the cheese, add the sugar, then beat. Start on low to combine, then turn up the speed to medium and mix until the cream cheese and sugar have become fluffed up, probably 3-4 minutes, or when you feel it is there.
2: To this mixture, add the vanilla, eggs and egg yolk, and dry spices. Mix slightly until combined, then add in pumpkin mixture and flour. Mix until smooth and combined, probably another minute or two.
Note: Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that all of the cream cheese is evenly mixed in.
3: Pour mixture into baked crust and smooth out using a spatula.
4: Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until the center has set, but still slightly jiggles when you move it. It shouldn’t be moving freely, but just a little. If it’s moving a bit, let it bake for a few minutes more, then check again.
5: After the cheesecake is done, take out and let cool for a bit, maybe an hour, then let chill covered in the fridge overnight if possible. Let it cool before trying to remove from the springform pan, otherwise you may have more difficulty. (I only got a picture of the smaller ones, but the big one turned out fine as well)
Note: Some people choose to do a water bath. I didn’t on this one and it didn’t crack, however you can if you’d like. To do so, wrap the bottom of the springform in a couple layers of foil (to avoid leakage), place in a deep baking dish, and surround the pan with boiling water, an inch of two up the side of the pan.
Alright folks, enjoy. I know Thanksgiving has passed, but try this out for yourself for any other occasion. It doesn’t even have to be a holiday! Just for eating purposes, haha.