This was my week to host. I have been wanting to make pumpkin cheesecake for a while so I decided to try the recipe in our book, and make everyone do it with me. :)
I don't think this recipe is where I will end up with pumpkin cheesecake, but it's a decent place to start. It wasn't quite cheesecake-y enough for me. It tasted more like a really smooth-textured pumpkin pie. So if you aren't a huge fan of cream cheese or cheesecake then not only are you crazy, but this cheesecake is for you! ;) As it is, it would still make a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner or just a dessert for a special night. If I adapt it in the future, I will let you know.
I didn't add cloves at all, but I will give you the recipe as it is in the book. I also only added a dash of nutmeg and allspice and increased the amount of cinnamon. Just because I don't swoon for allspice or nutmeg.
There is a secret to this cheesecake that I might use in the future....and it's one of the weirdest things I have done. You spread the pumpkin out on a paper towels and dry it. Crazy right? I really didn't think it would come off very easily.
But it did. It just kinda peeled right up!
You're supposed to wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with foil. I have done this before and been burned ( or soaked, water somehow got into my cheesecake anyway!) so I really didn't trust foil to keep the water from the water bath out of my cheesecake. After deliberating for a couple minutes about trusting tinfoil and wondering if I was being neurotic or not, I decided to put my springform pan inside another pan before adding to the water bath. Yes, I think I am neurotic. Just decided.
Then put it in the skillet (or roasting pan if you have one) and add boiling water.
Then bake it forever.
Then let it cool forever. And then sit in the fridge for another forever. Can you tell the sun has gone down now?
And then finally get to eat some. This recipe isn't hard, just takes a while and has a lot of steps. I am not sure it's necessary to pre-bake the crust and I don't know that I would do that next time. But we'll see. And it was worth it. Not perfection, but pretty darn good. Calvin said he wanted to eat all of it and Tyler really liked it. He wanted more crust because that's his favorite part (I know, could he be any more weird?). I added some caramel sauce, toffee bits and whipped cream to serve, but those things are up to you.
And for the recipe.
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1 inch pieces
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb (3- 8oz pkgs) cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and softened
1 T vanilla extract
1 T fresh lemon juice
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process cracker pieces in food processor until fine, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle melted butter, sugar and spices over crumbs and pulse to incorporate. Dump mixture into a 9" springform pan and press into the bottom of the pan with a measuring cup, or your hands until even. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and wrap outside bottom of pan with tinfoil and set into a large pan lined with a dish towel. Bring a kettle of water to boil. (For some reason, I think a kettle is funny)
For the filling: Spread 3 layers of paper towel on a baking sheet, spoon canned pumpkin on top and cover with 3 more layers of paper towel and pat until moisture is removed. (I let mine sit for a few minutes while I continued with the recipe) Whisk sugar, spice and salt together in a small bowl. In your mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on med-low speed until smooth, 1-3minutes. Scraping down beater as needed. Beat in half the sugar mixture until incorporated, 1-3 minutes. Beat in remaining sugar mixture, 1-3 minutes. Add dried pumpkin, lemon juice, and vanilla until incorporated, (you guessed it! 1-3 minutes!). Beat in eggs, one at at time until combined (1-3 minutes) Beat in heavy cream for another 1-3 minutes.
Being careful not to disturb the crust, brush the inside of the the springform pan with butter. Carefully fill that pan with the filling. Set the roasting pan in the oven and fill with boiling water until water is about halfway up the springform pan. Careful not to go over the foil! Bake cheesecake for about 1 1/2 hours or until an instant read thermometer registers 150.
Let the cheesecake cool in the roasting pan for 45 minutes, remove to cool completely. Cover with foil and transfer to refrigerator to chill for about 3 hours. To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a wet, hot towel around the pan and let sit for 1 minute. Remove the sides of the pan and carefully slide the cake onto a cake platter. Let the cheesecake sit at room temp for 30 minutes before serving. For professional looking slices, clean the your knife thoroughly in between cutting slices. Dip the knife in warm water and wipe clean.
*I didn't worry about wrapping the towel around the pan and we also didn't let it sit at room temp for 30 minutes before serving.