The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Yes, Pumpkin Cheesecake

November 19, 2012 , ,

A quick break at work took me down long rabbit hole of Thanksgiving food. It was dark, yet delightful filled with so many variations of turkey that for a second, I almost found myself thankful for having the foresight to travel on Thanksgiving Day. Good riddance I thought. I won’t have to deal with any of this. I was strong until I came across this Apple Crostata recipe from Gourmet that looked like it could make a nonbeliever…believe.

I had a slight pang as I remembered my grandmothers apple cake and immediately forwarded to my brother who replied a bit too quick for his Hong Kong time “Fuck that looks great.”

But I’m saving that for another time, Christmas perhaps or maybe that house warming party if I ever get around to it. I had my sights set on more pumpkin this weekend and I quickly came across this pumpkin bourbon cheesecake after the Crostata crossed by path.

I have a thing for fresh pumpkin and even more so pumpkin puree. I find the process very satisfying. Roasting the pumpkin allows for some downtime, yet you still feel as though you are being productive! The pureeing is loud (best done when the pumpkin is still warm as I found out this Friday night) and gets out some aggression. Letting the puree strain over night, seeing the water seep out just gives me some sense that everything is right with the world. And a few months later when I pull that out of the freezer for another cheesecake or maybe bundt cake…well there is nothing quite like it.

(Carting home 8 pounds pumpkin from Whole Foods because it’s on sale for 50 cents a pound, ½ mile uphill from the train. Well…that’s another story.)

But regardless, this cheesecake was worth it. It was my first foray into a real cheesecake all by my lonesome and I was pleased with the results. I will know next time to slather on the topping heavy because once it sits and cools, it cracks. And maybe, just maybe, I will know for next time that there needs to be some candied pecans on top. And I will definitely know that I need a spring form pan. (hint, hint Mom, Christmas is coming up…)

Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days. I’ve only changed one things from the original recipe (you can see it here and that was to omit ¼ cup granulated sugar from the crust. It’s not needed at all.

FOR CRUST

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4-by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

FOR FILLING

  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

FOR TOPPING

  • 2 cups sour cream (20 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

 

MAKE CRUST:

  • Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create a flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.
  • Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust 1 hour.

 

MAKE FILLING AND BAKE CHEESECAKE:

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.
  • Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

MAKE TOPPING:

  • Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
  • Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
  • Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

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