Saturday, November 12, 2016

All Things Cheesecake

Ask me to name my favorite dessert and I would not hesitate to name 'cheesecake'.  Now, that has not always been the case.  When I was growing up, my grandfather worked at the Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, Michigan and he would bring home cheesecakes from the Polish bakeries.  They did not make their cakes with Philly cream cheese.  It was probably farmer's cheese and tasted dry.  I never cared for it.

I am not sure when I first tasted cheesecake with 'the real stuff', but I loved it.  And still do.  Of course, it is, perhaps, not the most nutritious dessert, being mostly fat, but for special occasions, it works for me.  

I decided to create something different for Thanksgiving and thought about a light cheesecake on top of a brownie.  Not sure if I will do that as Charlie really liked the pumpkin mousse last year, but yesterday we tried out this cheesecake recipe I developed.  

My kids were here to celebrate my 70th birthday so we talked about the taste.  Everyone liked it, including Charlie.  I thought it could use a little more cinnamon, no one else agreed, but after all we ate (white pizza, fettucine with chicken meatballs, pesto and ricotta, and Greek salad) along with the lemon cake they brought, who knows.  I thought it tasted good with my coffee for breakfast, lol.

This picture is of only a 7-inch cake.  You can cut the recipe in half for smaller groups.


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs (or graham cracker if you prefer)
6 Tbsp melted butter
4 tsp sugar

Filling:
2 lb cream cheese - at room temperature.  Cream cheese must be SOFT.
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 Tbsp sour cream
8 large eggs - you need twelve ounces so place in a measuring cup, then you can adjust for the size of your eggs
2 tsp vanilla
11 ounces heavy cream
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon - or 2 tsp if you want more spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare crust:

1.  In a food processor, process ginger snaps until crumbs form.  Make sure you have 2 cups of crumbs.  Place in a bowl and add melted butter and sugar.  Stir until evenly moist.
2.  Place crumbs in the bottom of an 9-inch springform pan and press into bottom and up sides about 1/2 inch.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Before filling pan, double-wrap the bottom with heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent leaks.

Prepare filling:

1.  In a stand mixer, place cream cheese in the bowl with paddle attachment and mix on low speed.  Scrape down the bowl, the paddle, and the bottom of the bowl often.  The cheese must be completely lump free.
2.  Add the sugar and salt and continue to mix, on low speed, until smooth.  DO NOT INCORPORATE AIR INTO THE MIXTURE.
3.  Add the sour cream, mix on low, scraping as necessary, until smooth.
4.  Add the eggs, two at a time, with the vanilla, scraping the bowl and paddle, and mixing until smooth with each addition.
5.  Slowly add the heavy cream, scrapping and mixing until incorporated.
6.  Add the lemon juice and solid pack pumpkin and mix until incorporated and mixture is smooth, scraping and cleaning paddle.
7.  At this point, if the mixture still has lumps of cream cheese (and yes it does happen) you must push it through a fine sieve. 
8.  To the lump free mixture, add the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and stir on low until completely dispersed.  Note:  If you have to put the mixture through a sieve and add these before doing so, most of the spice will end up trapped in the sieve itself.  Trust me on this.
9.  Pour mixture into springform pan wrapped with foil.  Place in a large roasting pan and fill larger pan with water about half-way up sides on springform pan.  This water-bath will prevent your top from cracking.
10.  Bake in oven for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until center is set and the cake is firm across the top.
11.  Allow to cool completely on a rack before removing pan.  Refrigerate.  Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving.



16 comments:

  1. Happy belated birthday. Cake looks delicious! I am a fan of cheesecake, but rarely eat desserts these days.

    Betty

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  2. Happy birthday! The lemon cake looks delicious. I bet the cheesecake that you thought was dry was made with cottage cheese. My mom made her German cheesecake which I love better than the North American version. It is a yeast cake and the cottage cheese mixture is on top as a nice layer. I am wondering if that is a version similar to what you remember?? I am going to keep this recipe and make it for my hubby who loves cheesecake and pumpkin is right up his alley

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    Replies
    1. I took a Polish desserts class with a Polish instructor and he used farmer's cheese. Tasted just as bad as I remembered. The lemon cake was good too. I'm having it for dinner.

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  3. Hubby is a big fan of cheesecake but I have never managed to make one successfully. It isn't my total favourite. Chocolate volcanoes or lava cakes probably are. Your cake does look delicious.

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  4. Happy Birthday to you. Beautiful birthday cake. I cannot believe your birthday party menu. Sounds absolutely delicious. YUM. Many more.

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  5. Happy birthday! That birthday cake is beautiful, and the pumpkin cheesecake looks and sounds delicious.

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  6. I much prefer pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin pie (which I don't care for at all). But, unlike you, I'm calling it health food.

    Happy belated birthday!

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    1. My kids have joked that I've actually never made a plain pumpkin pie. Thanks for the wishes.

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  7. Happy 70th Birthday! The cake looks delicious! We love cheesecake in this house!

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  8. Cheesecake for Thanksgiving, what a great idea! And I think the pumpkin will work well.

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    1. Cheesecake is good no matter what holiday I am celebrating. I have finally decided on a brownie bottom with a pumpkin cheesecake layer and covered in pumpkin mousse. I hope I remember to take a picture.

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  9. Pumpkin and lemon are too of my favorites! This post has me drooling. :-)

    Thanks for sharing the pumpkin cheesecake recipe.

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