This Pumpkin Cheesecake has three layers. It starts with a ginger flavored Graham Cracker Crust. Next, the cream cheese filling combines a New York style cheesecake with the earthy flavor of pumpkin puree and its complementary spices. The cake is finished with a smooth layer of vanilla flavored sour cream. This dessert is excellent any time of the year, but it’s particularly nice in the Fall.
So let’s start with the crust. It is a basically a Graham Cracker Crust, only some of the graham cracker crumbs are replaced with crushed ginger cookies (homemade or store bought). This adds a wonderful spicy flavor which goes so well with the pumpkin flavored cheesecake filling. If you prefer a plain graham cracker crust, replace the crushed ginger cookies with 1/2 cup (50 grams) of graham cracker crumbs (or crushed Digestive Biscuits).
When making cheesecakes make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature so they blend together to create a smooth texture. In order to prevent the cheesecake from cracking beat the ingredients at low speed as, unlike a butter cake, you do not want to incorporate a lot of air into the batter. You only want to beat the ingredients until they are nice and smooth. And use full fat cream cheese and have it at room temperature as cold cream cheese is harder to beat and you can end up with graininess. You can use canned pure pumpkin in this recipe or make your own pumpkin puree. Fortunately there are excellent brands of canned pumpkin on the market which match the quality of homemade. Just use the pure pumpkin puree that does not have any spices added to it. Now, if you want to make your own puree, use the smaller pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 kg.). To make the puree, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stringy fibers, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth to extract all the liquid. Cool before using.
Judging when a cheesecake is fully baked always presents a challenge, as they do need to be removed from the oven when the center is still a little wet and wobbly. Cracking can also be a problem. As a cheesecake bakes its moisture evaporates. If too much moisture is lost (when overcooked), or if it evaporates too quickly (oven temperature too hot) cracking will occur. So be sure to follow your recipe’s instructions. Also, to prevent cracking, shortly after you remove the cheesecake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake. Once the cheesecake has completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight. This allows the cake to set, flavors to meld, and produces a creamier texture.
More Recipes at Joyofbaking.com
Article and Demonstration by Stephanie Jaworski
Photo and Videography by Rick Jaworski
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