Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I created this particular version of this several years ago for an Italian food company I was working for (they needed something with nutmeg). That year for Thanksgiving, I made this as individual portions in a muffin tin and it was a huge hit. With the small ones, you get more flavorful crust if that's what you're into. This year, I made two, a 10" and an 8" for customers. I forgot to take pics before delivery unfortunately, but trust me that's it really pretty when baked.

For an 8 inch cheesecake:

First the crust:

  • 1/2 bag gingersnaps, crushed into fine crumbs (FOOD PROCESSOR!)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine all and press on the bottom only of an 8 inch springform pan. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350. Let cool.
  • 3 pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs, room temp (take them out when you take the cream cheese out to soften)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is absorbed. Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each one is added. Add vanilla with one of the eggs. Sprinkle cornstarch over the batter and stir by hand, then beat one more minute with the mixer.

Divide batter in half. Set one half aside. To the other half, add the following:
  • 1 cup solid pack pumpkin
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Whisk gently until combined.

Spray the sides of the springform pan with cooking spray. To fill the pan, place half of plain batter onto crust. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat with both batters and then swirl with a knife, working across and back and forth over the batter.

Place a big roasting pan in the oven and fill with boiling water. Place cheesecake on rack above the roasting pan. Bake 50 minutes at 350 -- resist the temptation to peek! -- and then turn the oven off and open the door a little bit. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour, remove and finish cooling before refrigerating it. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Cheesecakes crack -- it's a fact of life. This recipe is written with the tips and tricks that help stop that from happening: greasing the sides of the pan, adding cornstarch to stabilize the batter, not over-beating the eggs and adding a pan of water to the oven. If it still cracks, and it may, that's what whipped cream is for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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