Pumpkin Cheesecake

It’s time to get seasonal with a silky smooth pumpkin cheesecake that will make your house smell like Fall. I discovered this recipe on the Food Network almost a year ago to the day. The end-result was so popular that I ended up making several more batches. I never thought, not even in my wildest dreams, that I’d be making a cheesecake in my own kitchen. I just figured it was one of those things that could only be made by a professional…with a bit white hat…and fancy equipment…in a restaurant!

As I reflect on the past year and the culinary advancements that I have made in our modest Hoboken apartment kitchen, I can’t help but recount my cheesecake making adventures and their meaning to my development.

As I was saying, the thought of making a cheesecake, at the time, was inconceivable. Hell, I didn’t even LIKE cheesecake (or pumpkin, for the matter). Why would voluntarily go through the trouble of making something that I didn’t even want to eat?  Not sure I can answer that question but that is exactly how it went down. Chalk it up to being in the zone, but I was on a mission to make that damn cheesecake, make our apartment fragrant, and be on with my day!  Worst case, I’d toss the evidence and be out $15 of ingredients. Nobody would ever know.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I became motivated to further perfect the process. Since the demand was there (April requested one for her birthday, which wasn’t for another five months), I figured I could make a cheesecake, cut it into pieces and pawn off to friends and family.  I learned a few important lessons (many the hard way), like what a spring-formpan is and how to keep the cake from cracking.  Most importantly, I learned not to let fear get in my way.

Recipe

Serving Size (9″ cake)

Estimated time: 6 1/2 hours (20 minutes prep, 2 hour + 15 mins cooking, 4 hours resting)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter (I use unsalted, 1 minute in microwave)
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature (use no-name brand to save $$)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin, found in the baking section of your supermarket
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten in a small bowl
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*green highlight denotes ingredients you will likely need to buy fresh while black text includes ingredients you should either have stocked in your pantry or ingredients that have a lengthy shelf life.

What You’ll Need:

  • food processor
  • hand or stand mixer
  • springform pan
  • (optional) parchment paper
  • (optional) roasting pan large enough to fit a spring form pan
  • (optional) heavy duty aluminum foil (extra long, 18″)

Directions:

  1. pre-heat oven to 350 F
  2. fill roasting pan 1/2 full with water. pour that water into a pot and bring it to a boil
  3. line the bottom of the spring-form pan with parchment paper. this will allow you to transfer the cake off of the pan later on
  4. pulverize graham crackers in a food processor. in a small mixing bowl, combine gram cracker crumbs, light brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter
  5. using your hands, pour crust mixture into a springform pan and press along the bottom creating a solid, even crust
  6. time to make the filling. start by breaking the cream cheese into small 1-2″ squares (using your hands). this will help bring it to room temperature. put into a microwave in 10 second intervals until the cream cheese is soft, but not melted (should take around 30 seconds, give or take)
  7. blend the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth
  8. add pumpkin puree, sour cream, sugar and spices and blend on low speed
  9. add eggs and egg yolk and stir slowly by hand until combined (see tips below on why it’s important to stir slowly, and by hand)
  10. add flour and vanilla and stir slowly by hand until combined
  11. pour the filling into the springform pan and onto the crust. watch out for the last drops of the filling – it will have chunks of cheesecake which you don’t want. just throw that part out
  12. time to prepare the cake for the bath. carefully wrap the springform pan with 2 whole sheets of aluminum foil (should have pieces big enough to cover the entire pan) making sure to bring the sheet all the way up the rim. do not leave cracks or areas for water to seep through the aluminum along the sides or bottom of the pan. here’s a good video tutorial on prepping a cheesecake for water bath
  13. carefully pour the boiling water (from step 2) into the roasting pan. slowly set the springform pan into the water bath and carefully place the roasting pan into the oven (middle rack)
  14. cook at 350 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. do not open the oven door!
  15. (you didn’t open the oven door, right? good!) turn off the heat and cook in the residual heat in the oven for another 1 hour
  16. remove cheesecake pan from the oven. once cool to room temperature (30 minutes), place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. do not put plastic wrap onto a warm cheesecake as it will condensate and make the cake soggy
  17. once cooled in fridge and ready to be eaten, take a thin knife, run in hot water, dry it and run around the inner rim of the cheesecake. carefully unlock and remove the springform ring. you may need to run a knife around the edges one more time to loosen the cheesecake from the ring. check out this video on how it’s done

Tips:

  • you can simplify the process by skipping the water bath (steps 2, 12, 14) and baking the springform pan directly in the oven for 1 hour
  • the reason I prefer to use a water bath is it keeps the cheesecake from cracking. you can read more on cracking here. no impact on the taste…purely aesthetic
  • lining the pan with parchment paper: trace the bottom piece of the springform pan with a pencil and cut out the circle from the parchment paper
  • once eggs are added to the batter, it’s important to mix very slowly to keep the batter from getting whipped. this will help keep the form of the cheesecake once cooked
  • when cutting the cheesecake, always use a knife that’s been soaked in warm water and then immediately dried

4 Comments on “Pumpkin Cheesecake”

  1. lovelyhorribles says:

    …and by “like,” I mean love. Not just the amazing photographs, but also the recipe. Puts me in a very autumnal mood. Thanks for passing both along.

  2. jodiemo says:

    This looks so yummy. It’s a great take on a traditional fall ingredient!

  3. neshanne says:

    This looks amazing, great photos. i have a question if you skip the water bath do you only cook the cheesecake for 1 hour in the oven or do you still do step 15 and let it cook for another hour in the residual heat?

    • tbari says:

      Thanks for the comment and good question. You can actually skip the 1 hour cool-down in the oven. Just cook for 1 hour + 15 mins and then remove from the oven and let cool for a bit before putting it in the fridge. The result is nearly identical except you’ll get some cracks in the cake (which some people actually like). I’m kind of a perfectionist and like to make things look like they do in a restaurant (it too me many attempts to get this recipe down right, and even the one in this picture ends dup working out better the next time). Good Luck! And btw…it’s worth the hassle this cake is insane.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers