• My Ramblings

Tasty Tuesday #3

Oh, how I love this time of year.

There’s something inspiring about this time of year- inspiration for doing good things for others; inspiration for family togetherness ideas; and -one of MY favorites- recipe inspirations!

One of my favorite restaurants is The Cheesecake Factory, and EVERY year, I wait with anticipation for their Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Yes, I know- I’m wasting a little bit of my kiddos’ college funds every time I spend the $8+ on a single slice of this amazing dessert, but it just always seemed so worth it… until I made it myself.  Now, I’m trying REALLY hard to figure out why I would ever do such a thing.  Here’s the recipe and let me know if you agree:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust

about 8 CINNAMON graham crackers, broken up

1/4 cup pecans

5 tbsp butter, melted

1/4  cup sugar

cooking spray

Filling

24 oz cream cheese

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla

5 large eggs

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (or fresh pumpkin- recipe to follow)

1 cup sour cream

Directions

***8 HOURS before you plan on making this, let the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs sit out.  This will ensure that they are the proper temp.***

Preheat oven to 350 degrees(F).  Coat a 9 in. springform pan with cooking spray.

Combine the graham crackers, butter, sugar, and pecans in a food processor and pulse until they’re fine crumbs.  If you don’t have a food processor, try to crush the crackers and pecans as fine as possible before mixing with the butter and sugar.

Pat the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of the pan.  If you have a measuring cup nearby, it works really well for helping to spread things evenly across the bottom and up the sides.  Bake for 7-10 minutes and let cool.  Once cool, wrap the pan in a sheet of 18 in. foil (the pan will be placed in a water bath, so this will keep the water out of your cheesecake).

Reduce oven temp to 300-325 (depending on whether or not your oven is as wacked out as mine is).

Mix the cream cheese and sugar until its smooth.  Scrape the bowl and add the flour; mix until combined.  Add vanilla; mix until combined.  And one egg at a time, beating after each until combined.  Add spices; mix til combined.  Add sour cream; mix til combined.  Scrape the bowl to ensure everything is mixed together well, add pumpkin and -you got it- mix until combined.

Pour filling into the cooled crust.

Place pan in a 9×13 baking pan; pour water in til it reaches half way up the side of the cake pan.  Place in the center of the oven and do NOT open the oven for the first hour.  When the timer goes off, check to see that the cheesecake is doing ok (it should be starting to turn a golden brown on top) and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  The cake will still be a bit wobbly, but it will set with time.  Cool and then refrigerate at least overnight.

Yes- overnight.  You can smell it; you can look at it- but DON’T touch it for roughly 8 hours.

This cheesecake isn’t hard, but its time consuming when you take into account the wait times… but its SO worth it.

When you’re ready to serve, do your best to not eat it straight out of the pan.  Garnish with whipped cream and candied pecans… and a fork.  Or a spoon.

Or, if you’re like me, wait until everyone is gone and just pick up a slice and eat it.

Pumpkin Puree

Like everything else, the only reason most people buy canned puree is for the convenience, but -if you encountered the same issue I had (where the stores looked at you like you were weird for wanting raw pumpkin)- this recipe really isn’t all that hard either.

You’ll need:

a baking pumpkin (if your store is -once again- odd like mine, you can use a butternut squash -which is what most canned purees are made from anyways- or your kid’s jack ‘o’ lantern… if it isn’t too large.  The larger the pumpkin, the more fibrous and less sweet it will be.  You don’t want one TOO SMALL, though- you need to be able to make at least 15 oz of puree for the cheesecake.)  And butter.  You’ll need a bit ‘o’ melted butter.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the outside of the pumpkin to get off most of the visible dirt.  You won’t be eating the outside, but the last thing you want is to cut into the pumpkin and get dirt into the inside.

Cut the pumpkin into quarters and scrape out all the gushy stuff.  Yes, that’s a technical term.  Save the seeds, though- you can always make roasted pumpkin seeds later.

Coat the fleshy part of the pumpkin with the butter and place face side down on a baking sheet that has been wrapped with foil.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour.  Check on it after 30 minutes just to see where its at, though (because, once again, if your oven is wacked like mine, the last thing you want is to ruin your pumpkin).  After 45 minutes, if a knife can slide in EXTREMELY easily, its done.  Let it cool, and then scrape out the insides.  Mash with a potato masher or  -my suggestion?- a food processor or a ricer.  Use a cheese cloth (or a tea towel you don’t care about) and try to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

Tada!  You’re done.  You can use this for the cheesecake or -as I found out- very nutritious baby food. (The Mini-Master will attest that it was muy bueno).  And just think- you’ll never again have to watch your kiddos’ jack ‘o’ lanterns rotting away… just turn them into puree Nov. 1st!

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4 Responses

  1. Well since I love pumpkin and cheescake I really may have to make this one! It sounds delcious! Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. I’m convinced this might be my favorite cheesecake ever and I haven’t even tasted it yet!
    Not Your Ordinary Agent
    Not Your Ordinary Recipes
    Clean Gal

  3. Kathy- really. You should. Its so good that I’m already at peace with the massive amount of weight I would gain from eating a whole one. By myself. In the dark. Alone. Its worth it, lol.

    NYOA- Run- don’t walk- to go buy the supplies and try it out, lol.

  4. Yum, cheesecake!!

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