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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Run on Pumpkin (Cheesecake)

The other day I braved the horrific crowds at Costco for the items I needed for the week and for the holiday. While in there, I saw a very pretty (very LARGE) pumpkin cheesecake that looked so tempting. I opted to try it myself. I reviewed some recipes and compared them to my very traditional cheesecake recipe and combined a little of this and a little of that.

I don't like cheesecake and I hate pumpkin pie. However, this was velvety delicious and I admit I actually ate a small piece. I made four mini ones to be sure I got the texture and flavors right. I'm making the crust (as we speak) on the full sized one. But the recipe was spot-on.

If you like cheesecake and you like pumpkin pie this is the dessert for you! Not too sweet, naturally. But it was sweet enough that I felt wonderfully satisfied when I had my piece, which was, incidentally, at 9:30 a.m.

There is still time to make this if you'd like to experiment. The tricks with cheesecake are that you must make it the day before you want to eat it and you must use a water bath. And finally, you must cool the cake inside the oven - door cracked open. Now, all you need is to find some pumpkin in the stores!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I am grateful and thankful for the blessings in my life.


Pumpkin Cheesecake

for crust:
nonstick vegetable oil spray
12 graham crackers
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp. crystallized ginger
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

for filling:
4 eggs
3 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp each: ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, combine all crust ingredients except butter - till the crumbs are fine. Slowly add in the melted butter and pulse several times till moist big crumbs form. Spray a 9" springform pan with nonstick spray and wrap tin foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place it on a baking sheet and with your hands, mold crumbs all over the bottom and sides of the pan - about 1/2 way up the sides. Bake about 10 minutes until crust becomes slightly golden and then cool completely.

For the filling: be sure all ingredients are at room temperature. On a slow speed in a large electric mixer, using the paddle, mix the three packages of cream cheese about 30 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom. Next add the sugar, slowly, and beat another 30 seconds. Scrape, again.

Next add the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat another 30 seconds and scrape. Add one egg and all spices and beat another 30 seconds. Then add the remaining eggs, one at a time, on slow speed.

Finally, add the pumpkin and beat another 20 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and with a large spatula or spoon mix well so all ingredients are incorporated. Pour filling into the prepared crust still on the cookie sheet.

Slowly pour water around the bottom of the pan till it's about 2" on the sides. bake 1 hour. When it's finished, slowly open the oven and leave slightly ajar. turn off the oven. Allow the cake to cool like this about 25 minutes before removing. Cool completely and then place in the fridge overnight before dislodging from the pan.

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