Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Last month, I craved cheesecake, and I wanted to bake one. Since my friend was throwing her 10 year old a birthday party, I thought, "Why not bake one and share with everyone. Then I don't have to eat all of it myself." I did, and everybody at the party luv it. I baked them in mini muffin cups, thinking in advance that they would be easier to eat. No plates. No forks.

While I was browsing through Pinterest this month, I came across several pictures of pumpkin cheesecake. I asked my kids if they wanted to try my homemade pumpkin cheesecake because... well... somebody had to help me eat them. They unanimously said, "YES!"

I searched my cookbooks and on the internet for a pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Not to my surprise, I found one at William-Sonoma. Their version has gingersnaps and pecans in the crust. I didn't have gingersnaps at the time when I was ready to bake. So I decided to just use honey graham crackers. I also skipped the pecans, keeping it simple.

I cut the recipe in half so feel free to double it. After it was baked in a rectangle pan, I cut the cheesecake into Autumn shapes using cookie cutters. Just for the fun factor. The pumpkin cheesecake was creamy and pumpkinny. I like it warm or cold, and my kids luv it too. That was the biggest compliment since they didn't want my regular cheesecake a month ago. Maybe it was the pumpkin in the cheesecake. A great thing... because I now have a go-to pumpkin cheesecake recipe in my recipe collection.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted from William-Sonoma's Pumpkin Cheesecake
serves 5

Prep work:
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
2. Lightly spray the 8.5 by 6.5 inches pan with vegetable oil.
3. Line the pan with parchment paper, making sure to cover the side of the pan.
The crust:
2 oz honey graham crackers (New Morning)
1/8 cup (1 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted (Kerygold)
1. In a small bowl, crumble the honey graham crackers by hand.
2. Add the brown sugar and melted butter. Mix well.
3. Place the crumb mixture on to the prepared pan.
4. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to pat the mixture into the bottom.
5. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Transfer the pan into the wire rack. Set aside to cool.

The filling:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour (King Arthur)
1/2 pound (8 oz) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature (Horizon)
3/4 cup (2.6 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs (Eggland's Best)
1/2 cup (4 oz) pumpkin puree (Libby's)
1/4 cup (2 oz) sour cream (Daisy)
1. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on a medium speed until creamy.
3. Add the eggs and beat well at medium speed. 
4.  Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream. Beat until smooth. 
5. Add the spice mixture and mix well.
6. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the crust.
Bake it:
1. Bake the pumpkin cheesecake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. 
2. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. 
3. Allow the pumpkin cheesecake to cool completely then cover and refrigerate it until ready to serve.

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