Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Let the turkey have its day!! Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you spent it with your family and friends and had delicious things to eat.

This is my first cheesecake making experience. I'm quite certain my next cheesecake will go much smoother! For example, I will buy all 3 blocks of cream cheese at the same time instead of going out twice!

I purchased a springform pan months ago and have been waiting for a recipe that needs it. This recipe was a winner since I could use my food processor AND the springform pan. Here was the original recipe base and inspiration for the pumpkin cheesecake.

I omitted the cloves as I didn't have any, substituted the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt, reduce the white sugar from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup, and used dark brown sugar instead of light since that is what I had.

I loved this crust and will be using this in the future for other pies and cheesecakes.

Lessons Learned
  • Read all the directions. Seriously.
  • Do research on cheesecake making - there are many techniques and only you can decide what will work best for you! Here some links: Prepared Pantry, Allrecipes
  • Start with room temperature ingredients (take cream cheese out of the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour prior to using)
  • The general cheesecake rule is 1 egg : 1 8oz package of cream cheese
  • Beat the cream cheese for about 5 minutes so it is creamy, smooth, and light - otherwise you end up with lumpy cheesecake batter
  • If you DO have lumpy cheesecake batter, whirl it through your food processor (or fine mesh sieve...if you have one)
  • Adding flour makes it more cake like vs a more dense/creamy/rich/custard texture without it
  • Reduced fat ingredients can prevent it from setting. Also - its cheesecake, don't worry about it being healthy
  • It is done when the center (about 2 inches wide) is still jiggly but the rest of the cake is set (I have no idea if this was the case after the 1 1/2 hours was up, but it was lovely when I took it out of the oven at the end of the process)
  • I put a pan of water underneath the cake to help with the moisture and humidity - ideally will also help reduce risk of cracking
  • Preheat oven to 350F, put cake in, reduce heat to 250F. Cook 1 1/2 hours. Leave in oven for another 3 hours then see if it is close to room temp and then put into fridge - If you cook it like this, start early! Starting at 8 was not my most brilliant plan.
  • Flip the base of the springform pan upside down - so the rim is underneath. This will allow you to run a knife between the cake and the bottom and easily slide it off. You also can use a circle cut out of parchment paper on the base as well.
    This edge should face down for easy of removal
Future Ideas and Inspiration
  • Other cookies or crackers for the crust (biscotti, ginger snaps)
  • Add different spices or nuts to the crust (ginger, walnuts, macadamia nuts)
  • Making a plain cheesecake to top with a fruit compote (blueberries or strawberries!)
  • Try it without the flour (texture test!)
Good luck, Happy Cheesecake Making/Eating, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Add butter, brown sugar, & cinnamon
Press into pan
Fill pan with cheesecake, bake!


Pumpkin Cheesecake
One 9" Cheesecake

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 sleeve = 1 cup of crumbs)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (heaping)

3 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (heaping)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (heaping)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (heaping)

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • In food processor pulse the graham crackers. Once pulsed into crumbs add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined. Press crust into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth. 
  • Add pumpkin, eggs, yogurt, sugar and spices. Blend until combined. 
  • Add flour and vanilla, and beat until well combined. 
  • Pour filling into prepared pan.  
  • Put cheesecake in and turn down heat to 250F. Bake cheesecake 1 1/2 hours. Leave it in the oven for another 3 hours, try not to open the door. Put it in the fridge overnight, serve chilled. Top finished cheesecakes with whipped cream.
The cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

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