I picked up a bunch of pumpkins yesterday for decorating for fall at a local farmer's garden. I guess the drought has hurt the pumpkin crop. There was not much of a selection and they were all small. They had no gourds at all. I haven’t seen them in the stores yet either.
So with fall here, I am thinking pumpkin and fall recipes. I thought I would share a pumpkin cheese cake with you that I've made before and recommend. Cheesecake is my sister Wendy’s forte, but I’ve made a few.
1 box ginger snaps (about 16 oz.)
1 stick (1/2 cup) of melted butter
¼ cup sugar
½ cup pecans, chopped fine
Or make it easy on yourself and use a store bought graham cracker crust.
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temperature (you may use low-fat, but do not use fat free)
1 ¼ cups (15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
5 lg. eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
Salted Caramel Sauce
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/3 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream (you can use milk)
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ to ¾ tsp. salt
Toasted pecan halves for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crush the gingersnaps and reserve some for garnish (I do it in a food processor or you can place them in a baggie and use a rolling pin). Combine all crust ingredients in bowl. Press into bottom of 10" or 11" spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 min. or until pecans are slightly toasty. Cool a bit before filling. This is good with a graham cracker crust also if you wish to substitute and save a lot of work.
In a bowl, beat cream cheese, cream and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add spices, beat until light in texture. Add 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree and mix until just blended. Stir in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition.
Pour batter into spring form pan over cooled crust or your graham cracker crust. To prevent the cheesecake from cracking, it is a good idea to put the cheese cake in another pan with a bit of water in it. If you are using a spring from pan make sure you put aluminum foil around it so water does not leak into the crust. Bake in the center of the oven until cheesecake is firm to touch and does not jiggle in middle, about 50 minutes to an hour. Let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack for about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The cake will fall slightly in the middle as it chills giving it that classic "cheesecake" shape with a ridge around the edge.
Put sugars and water in small heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil approx. 4 minutes until nice caramel color. Do not walk away or overcook it or you'll burn the sugar and have to start over. Remove from heat, add cream, salt and butter and stir until well blended. Let cool for about 5 min. then add vanilla extract. You can substitute this with store bought caramel ice cream topping to simplify.
Drizzle with cooled caramel sauce and garnish with roasted pecans. Roasting the pecans for 2 minutes in a dry frying pan will release oils adding more flavor.
Do you want to make these as individual cheesecakes? You can buy small individual aluminum pans to make them or even individual ready made graham cracker crusts. Try using a large muffin pan to make small individual ones. Just cut your baking time and watch closely.
Have a beautiful fall day. Be happy and may God bless you and yours.