Upon finding out that I too owned and loved the Cake Book by Tish Boyle, the fabulous Cream Puff asked me if I would join her, as well as Mary of Alpineberry and Kate of Pie in the Sky, in making the same item from the book. I loved this idea since I always love to see how different people interpret the same recipe. The “cake” that was chosen was the Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger-Pecan Crust. Oh sure I have already posted about two other pumpkin cheesecakes…but one more wont kill me…right?
I only made a 1/2 batch and if you do that you want to make sure to use 2 eggs plus one yolk, everything else can be halfed down the middle. If you are making the half batch it makes for two mini cheesecakes plus a little left over that you could probably throw in a muffin pan if you really wanted to. I have to say that the title does not lie, this was indeed a very creamy cheesecake and quite tasty(though it could just be the diet talking…..nah). The original recipe calls for sugared pumpkin seeds but I chose to make pumpkin seed brittle instead. This is a great tasting cheesecake that would make a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table.
Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger-Pecan Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup pecans
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 TBSP cold water
1. Position the rack in the cneter of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9X13 inch spring form pan. Cut an 18inch square of ehavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil around the outside of the pan.
2. Place the flour, sugar, salt, pecans, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the butter and process until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add water and process until the dough starts to come together. Press the dough into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes(it took 25 for the 2 mini pans), until it is just beginning to brown. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger(I did not use)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
4 large eggs
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, mutmeg and salt. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Gradually add the sugars and beat until blended. Add the pumpkin mixture and mix till blended. Add the cornstarch and mix just until combined. Add the eggs on at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as neccessary.
6. Scrape the batter into the cooled crust. Place the wrapped pan in a roasting pan or large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 70-80 minutes(60 for mini), until the center of the cake is set but slightly wobbly(the cake will completely set as it cools).
7. Remove the cake pan from the water bath, place the pan on a wire rack, and carefully loosen the foil. Immediately run the tip of a paring knife around the sides of the pan, to prevent the top from cracking. Let the cake cool completley.
8. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
1 package(2.25 oz) salted pumpkin seeds
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Sprinkle pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet lined with parchement paper.
Pour the sugar into the center of a deep saucepan. Carefully pour 1/3 cup water around the walls of the pan, trying not to splash any of the sugar onto the walls. Do not stir; gently draw you finger twice through the center of the sugar, making a cross, to moisten it. Over high heat, bring to a full boil and cook without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally to even out the color, until the mixture is medium caramel in color, 5 to 10 minutes.
Immediately pour the caramel sauce over the pumpkin seeds. Let cool and place in fridge for 20 minutes. Break into piece and decorate cheesecake with brittle and whipped cream.
Source: Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle 2006