Tuesday 29 October 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Well, today was a big day, people.  My baking got me invited to a party.  This cooking is opening doors, my friends.  Party doors with pumpkins on them.

Because it was a pumpkin tasting party!

I was under strict instructions only to make something if I wanted to.

Well, of course I wanted to.  I mean, who needs another excuse to cook pumpkin in October?  Not me, certainly.

I opted for pumpkin cheesecake, a dessert I now prefer over pumpkin pie.

So I got the essentials.  Out of frame is a huge bag of candied ginger that my mom sent with the request that it feature in a blog post.  Don't worry, you'll see it later on.

First I made the base - ginger nuts/snaps were pulverised in the food processor.

Then in went some pecans and crystallized ginger.  Sugar was supposed to go in too, oops.

Just a few pulses so there would still be lumps of it...

And then in went some melted butter.

I lightly pressed it into the tin.  My recipe then said to bake it, but I ignored the recipe and just set the assembled base aside.

On to the cheesecake filling.  I whipped up some cream cheese and added brown sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

I never worry about a few specks of brown sugar showing up, as they'll just melt into nice sugary syrup within.

And in went some eggs too

Over the years, it has been tricky getting consistent supplies of this baby.  When I first moved here pureed pumpkins myself, which is a big, watery hassle (but admittedly turned out to be very tasty).  Then I found suppliers of the canned variety in out of the way places.  Then Libby's had a bad couple years of harvests and they actually limited the exports of this stuff, making it truly prized amongst us expats.

I'm happy to report it is a plentiful year for pumpkin, with Libby's now gracing multiple supermarket shelves and jack-o-lantern pumpkins a'plenty on the shelves too.

In goes the orange stuff

And into the tin it goes.

I stuck it in a water bath just to make sure it stayed smooth.  Just as well, as I forgot to turn the fan off on my oven so I cooked it at a higher heat than I intended.  And thankfully I have a habit of checking stuff when it is 3/4 of the way through what the directions indicate is the correct length of baking time.

So it came out looking like this.  It went into the fridge for a day and a half.

Then I added some whipped cream with a bit of vanilla, icing sugar, and ginger with a couple pieces of crystallized ginger.

And then I carried down the stairs in a vintage orange tupperware container and dropped it while stupidly trying to put gloves on, managing to smear whipped cream all over my coat in the process. A little voice inside my head had been trying to warn me it was a dumb idea, but who really listens to that voice, anyway?  I don't have a photo of the dented mess (thankfully at least it got on me and not the floor) as I didn't have anything with me that can take photos (my phone is an 8 year old Nokia) but I did still offer it to others and they ate it.  

WAIT, someone else took a photo with a fancy camera after its cosmetic repairs:

Try this recipe, you know you want to.

Pumpkin Cheesecake (adapted from TLC Cooking)

1‑1/4cups gingersnap (ginger nuts in the UK) cookie crumbs 
1/3cup pecans, very finely chopped

handful of crystallized ginger
1/4cup butter, melted

24 oz cream cheese
1cup packed light brown sugar
1teaspoon cinnamon
1/2teaspoon ground ginger
1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves
2egg yolks
1cup solid-pack pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For crust, combine cookie crumbs, pecans, sugar and butter in medium bowl; mix well. Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. 
  2. Meanwhile for filling, beat cream cheese in bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; beat until well blended. Beat in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin.
  3. Pour mixture into crust.  Wrap outside of tin in foil to prevent leaks, then place in bain marie (a big tray filled with boiling water - it's easiest to put tray in oven, add tin, then pour boiling water around it)  Bake around 1 hour (start checking after 40 mins) or until edges are set but center is still moist, it should jiggle like jello in the middle. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stand in oven with door ajar 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. To prevent cracking, loosen edges of cake from rim of pan with thin metal spatula; cool completely.
  4. Cover; refrigerate at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours before serving
  5. Whip some double cream and when it forms soft peaks add a spoonful of icing sugar, a sprinkling of ground ginger and a dash of vanilla and stir into cream.  Pipe onto cheesecake just prior to serving.

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