Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

(At first I typed "Pure Pumpin Cheesecake" which I kind of like. It sounds very '80's.) Welcome to Free Cake Week, where the HCB get a chance to bake or re-bake a cake that Marie or the group has already made. I chose a cake the group baked a year ago, as a (pumpin') pumpkin cheesecake sounded perfect for this rainy November.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

November 8, 2010
Name of Cake: Pump it up yo
Occasion: HCB, and a trade with Coleen
Constituents: pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust

I have no idea why I skipped this cheesecake last year. Why would I do a lame thing like that? It may have had something to do with the five pies we made for Thanksgiving, but hello! This is pumpkin cheesecake.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

The crust is a spicy pecan-gingersnap cookie crust, which is a perfect foil for the pumpkin and brings a bit of the spices we expect from a pumpkin dessert. Plus, I love a spicy gingersnap. I bought a ridiculously large box of them from IKEA so I could have something to nibble on after giving away the cheesecake.

Then I got the idea to sandwich the leftover caramel between gingersnaps.

Caramel Gingersnap Sandwiches

Best idea ever.

So interestingly, the crust doesn't need to be pre-baked like most graham cracker crusts do. I have no idea why, but I liked skipping that step.

The pumpkin is cooked briefly in a pan with turbinado sugar until thick and shiny.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake
I loved the bit of sunshine illuminating the pan.  I mean, sunshine!  In November!  Such a treat.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

This cheesecake should get whirred together quickly in the food processor. Now unfortunately I deleted the photo, but there was a shot of pumpkin cheesecake batter (before adding the cream cheese) oozing out of the bottom of my food processor. I discovered that the max fill line for liquids is only about halfway up the side of the bowl, and as I began adding the cream cheese I pushed the liquid past the line. And onto my counter.

After a minor panic I dumped the batter into the KitchenAid mixer. In TCB, the Cordon Rose Cheesecake is made in the KA, so I referenced those instructions. Using the whisk beater, I beat the cream cheese into the liquid until well-blended. It took a while, but we got there in the end.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

Then the eggs are added and everything turns into a lovely custard.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

And after a bake in a waterbath, we get this:

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

My cheesecake was too jiggly after the required baking time, and remembering my Coconut Cheesecake Pudding, put the Pumpin' Cheesecake back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

After cooling for one hour in the oven and to room temperature on the counter, the cheesecake is put to bed in the refrigerator overnight. Next up, the caramel drizzle.

Despite reading Rose's comment on Marie's post reminding everyone not to overcook the caramel (the group had caramel problems), I must have overcooked the caramel because I had the exact same problem. The caramel had such a small window of being drippy and drizzily and was mostly just a sticky blob. I tried spreading it across the top of the cheesecake but it looked ugly so I rolled it off in one sheet just as easily as rolling off the top crust of a genoise. I decided to skip the caramel and top with chopped toasted pecans, but I burned those. So, back to the caramel. No microwave to rewarm the caramel, so I placed the pyrex cup in a pan of simmering water. Eventually, the caramel softened enough to kind of drizzle.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

However my drizzles look like they've got the shakes. Oh well. (You can also see that when I rolled the sheet of caramel off the top of the cake it pulled away the top crust.)

I brought the cheesecake over to Coleen's house. I had promised her the cheesecake as a trade for some work she had done.  She is quite a baker herself and I was worried the absence of spices would be disappointing, but I had nothing to worry about. The caramel notes from the turbinado sugar complemented the pumpkin and cream cheese so perfectly and the gingersnap crust was enough to give the pumpkin cheesecake some spice. The texture was impossibly light and fluffy; nothing you would expect from a cheesecake. Coleen loved it; a good trade for everyone!

Read Marie's Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake post and hear about her old-school thermometer that had Woody very concerned. And a cat got to give her taste impressions!

19 comments:

  1. I love the filled gingersnaps! The pumpkin cheesecake looks lovely.

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  2. ב''ה

    You last paragraph describes it perfectly. I remember how good this cake was. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Raymond, thanks for commenting! The filled gingersnaps were an excellent bonus treat.

    Mendy, thanks! I'm so glad I finally got to try it.

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  4. It looks perfectly gorgeous! Pumpin temptress.
    (I know I keep telling you stories but this makes me laugh. My new job is working in transplantation. I sent out several letters with this on it:
    Transpants Nurse. So funny. Now, they call me the funny transpants nurse!)

    oh dear...my word verification is suckhaba!

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  5. Yum! I really wanted to make this one. I got all of the ingredients, but I ran out of time this weekend. Maybe I'll have time during the week.

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  6. Brilliant gingersnap caramel sandwiches! Seeing your cheesecake reminds me how much I loved it.

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  7. Transpants Nurse, that is hilarious! Working in transpants sounds like it could be very interesting.

    Andrea, I hope you do have the time, because this cheesecake is amazing.

    Vicki, thanks! Glad I could bring back good memories :)

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  8. GORGEOUS!!! I would have no idea that you had all those issues - seeing the 1st picture. That picture is a beauty. And I actually liked the jiggly/shaky caramel drizzling, I thought it was cool!

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  9. Your cake looks luscious - I may have to add it to my Thanksgiving table. Your photos are great!

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  10. Check your email. Bon chocolat!

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  11. Jenn, thank you!! YOu are very kind.

    lola, thanks! This is a luscious cake, good word.

    Viki, yippee! I am excited to try them. Did you make them yet?

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  12. The cookie sandwich pic is divine!! I love me some caramel!!!! And, I thought your drizzles looked perfectly drizzly...

    Remember, I am here to, "pump you up!"

    Remember these guys?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8Ko3fODp3c&feature=related

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  13. Beautiful! I vividly remember this cheesecake. One of the best cheesecakes ever!! I too was worried about the lack of spices but somehow it just worked! Did you give all of it away or did you make a mini cheesecake for a taste test? That's what I usually do. It's very easy if you have a small ramekin. It doesn't affect the "big" cake at all.

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  14. J-dawg, thanks dude! I remember Hans and Franz. Listen to me now and remember it later.

    Hanaa, Coleen let me take a couple of slices for myself and to share with Cookie, but otherwise she got it all. A mini cheesecake would have been a great idea--however next time I just want it for myself :)

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  15. I've been craving pumpkin cheesecake! The best place I know to get it is Costco, but yours looks soooo much better. I just MIGHT have to go homemade for this craving. I said MIGHT.
    -Char

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  16. One ounce equaled about a tabelspoon so I went with that. One teaspoon looked like easy bake cookies!

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  17. Yum. I used to make a similar cheesecake to take to my Mom's on thanksgiving just to show her up and prove that nobody liked her pumpkin pie.

    BTW, I think I fell in love with you bit when you said you were using dried sour cherries in your semolina cake. Def use the cardamom. I got all giddy thinking about THAT.
    Trevor Sis. Boom.

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  18. Your cheesecake and cookies look like they belong in a magazine--absolutely beautiful! Pumpkin cheesecake is one of those desserts that is so delicious, I always wonder why I don't make it more often. This one looks especially divine--now I'm rearranging my holiday baking schedule to figure out how to fit this baby in:)

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  19. Carlotta, as I emailed you privately, you MIGHT see this cheesecake tomorrow. I said MIGHT.

    Vicki, easy bake cookies! Now if only I still have my easy bake oven...

    Trevor, thanks for visiting my other blog! Did your mom get the hint? I wish I had thought of the cardamom before I baked the cake! Next time, for sure. The sour cherries were perfect in the cake. Glad you liked my suggestion :)

    Sarah, thanks!! Yes, fit this baby in, it is so worth it!

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