Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfectly Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake

For Thanksgiving last week, I made this recipe for Perfectly Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I'm not much of a sweets person.  Matter of fact, until making and posting this recipe, I didn't even have a category for "Deserts".  I rarely, if ever, bake.  I'm pretty handy in the kitchen but I'm horrified of baking. I don't eat sweets so I assume I won't be good at making them. 

With all that said, I do have a weakness for cheesecake.  It's the one exception.  Therefore, I decided to try my hand at it. 

This recipe was a little time consuming but well worth it.  It was a hit!!  I'm looking forward to trying a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake for Christmas now.  Maybe, I'm breaking out of this shell.

Perfectly Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake
Tasty Kitchen

For the crust:
1-3/4 gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about 40 gingersnap wafers)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled down

For the filling:
24 ounces regular cream cheese (not low fat or nonfat), at room temperature
15 ounces pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 whole large eggs
1 whole egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9" springform pan by lightly spraying with cooking spray.  For the crust, pulse the cookies in a food processor until the crumbs are uniform.  Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse to combine.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add the melted butter.  Combine thoroughly with a fork.  When the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful, it's ready.  Press the mixture evenly over the bottom, and very slightly up the sides, of your springform pan.  Chill for 5 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Prepare a water bath while the crust cools.  Heat a kettle or pan of water to a soft boil.   Have a large baking dish or roasting pan ready to set the springform pan inside it.  Once the crust is cooled, set the springform pan on a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil up around the outside of the pan. 

For the filling, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the pumpkin puree and combine.  Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, incorporating each egg thoroughly before adding the next, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each one.  Beat in the sour cream.  Then add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and flour.  Beat just until combined, then beat in the vanilla.

Scape the filling onto the cooled crust and spread evenly.  Set the springform pan in the larger roasting pan and add enough hot water from the kettle to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake until the top of the cheesecake is a deep golden color and the center is set, about 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes.  It's okay if there is a slight jiggle to the filling.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides, to prevent the cake from cracking as it cools.  Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for at least four hours or overnight before serving.  Top individual slices with fresh whipped cream.

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