Monday, December 6, 2010

Pumpkin Gets Swirled

Thus far on The Literate Baker, pumpkin has gone puff, been rolled, and been Bundted (yes, that's a word; I say so).  For a mere four months in bloggy existence, that's a lot of pumpkin.  One more, and then I promise to give it a rest.  Really.

In addition to Ritz cracker pie, my Thanksgiving spread featured my first attempt at pumpkin cheesecake.  It seemed like a match made in heaven.  Of course, I consider most anything combined with cream cheese to be a match made in heaven, but still.  Silky pumpkin laden with spices, dense rich cheesecake--yum.

So, I scoured the internet, my cookbooks, magazines.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of variations.  Ultimately, I settled on a swirled application.  I figured it would offer both the marriage I was looking for and the spirit of the individuals involved.  For the crust, I went gingersnap, using the recipe right on the back of the box.  For the filling, I used the Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake from the Cooking Club of America:

3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil.
2. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed just until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating at low speed just until combined.
3. Whisk pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in medium bowl. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the cheesecake mixture.
4. Spoon half of the remaining plain cheesecake mixture into crust. Top with half of the pumpkin filling. Repeat (do not spread evenly for best swirls). With knife or metal spatula, gently swirl through batter to achieve a marbled effect. Place springform pan in large shallow roasting or broiler pan; add enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
5. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid.
6. Remove springform pan from roasting pan; remove foil. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Store in refrigerator.

The water bath.
The flavors of this cheesecake were great.  The texture, for me, was almost too creamy.  I suppose I may have under-baked it.  It may also be the presence of the sour cream.  I prefer that almost counter-intuitive dense/fluffy thing that is the hallmark of a good cheesecake.  I'll try a couple more before settling on my standard.  Of course, I think I ate at least six of the sixteen slices, so, clearly, it was good enough to...

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