Thursday, November 11, 2010

sweet? savory? ahh-- "delicious" pumpkin cheesecake

i love pumpkin. you may have noticed lately. well, i've stopped using "safe" recipes, and now i'm on to ones i haven't heard of, or have been too scared to try.
this weekend, it was pumpkin cheesecake. and it was awesome.

i was nervous because the recipe only called for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, instead of a whole can. that can't be enough! i need to feel smothered with my pumpkin! but, surprisingly, it was. don't be distracted by the smell of cream cheese that over powers the pumpkin. it's worth it.

however, i didn't bake it long enough. sad panda. well, sorta sad. it ended up more like a custard than a cheesecake, and you can't really ruin anything with pumpkin in it, right? right.
i already can't wait to make it again. this time, though, i'll cook it for about 10-15 minutes longer.

have i mentioned how much i love the sour cream topping? it's a deliciously spectacular mix of sweet and tart.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely ground ginger cookies
1T white sugar
4-5T melted butter

2/3 c (145 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1 pound (454 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (210 grams) pure pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 c sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 c white sugar

for the crust, mix together all the ingredients (i did this in the food processor so that it finely ground the graham crackers and the gingersnap cookies), then press into a greased springform pan.
for the cheesecake, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, spices, and salt. in the kitchen aid mixer (or by hand mixer if you are a poor, unfortunate soul like i was such a short time ago), beat the cream cheese until smooth. slowly add the sugar mixture, beating until smooth again. add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. beat in the pumpkin and vanilla last.

pour into the prepared pan with the crust, then place in the oven. ALSO place in the oven a bread pan half full with some HOT water to keep it moist in the oven. bake in the 350 oven for 35 minutes, then decrease temperature to 325 and continue baking for 10-20 minutes more, or until the edges are puffed but the middle still jiggles some when you shake the pan.

for the topping, while the cheesecake is baking, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. when the cheesecake's done, pour this topping over it and rotate the pan so it's completely covered. then return it to the oven for about 8-10 minutes to set the topping.

remove from the oven and run a sharp knife along the inside of the springform sides-- this prevents cracking as the cheesecake cools. place on a wire rack and cover with foil so the cake cools slowly. when it's completely cooled, cover and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

edited: after just a few days in the fridge, it tasted even better than it did the first day. it firmed up enough to be like a "real" cheesecake and not the thick custard thing i mentioned at first. however, i'll still cook it for a few minutes longer next time i make it.

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