Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh, it is so pumpkin time: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecake is just one of the many reasons I love Emmanuelle. She has perfected this cheesecake and so kindly guided me through the process. So, even though the whole of America is between us, we can still bake a cake together.

This recipe takes some time, but it isn't difficult. And, it definitely has the wow-factor.

First, for the crust, get together your white and brown sugars, pecans, butter, and graham cracker crumbs.
For the graham crackers, I use the mini-food processor attachment that came with my immersion blender. I love this attachment and I use it all the time. So if you are in the market for an immersion blender, spend a little extra and get this attachment.
Mix the ingredients together.
Press that into the pan. You are actually supposed to make it go up the side a little bit, which I totally forgot to do. Then, chill the crust for an hour.
For the filling, get out your ingredients. A few key players:
Whisk together the wet ingredients sans cream cheese.
(That orange! I adore pumpkin season.)

Next, whisk together your dry ingredients. And, yes, of course, there is nutmeg in here.
Add the room temperature cream cheese to the dry ingredients. And, yes, the cream cheese has to be at room temperature for a fluffy cake.
Now, add in the pumpkin mixture. How gorgeous is this color?
Time to pour it into your spring form pan.

Bake it for 50-60 minutes. How do you know when it is done? You apparently should not ask me. I baked it for 50 minutes at exactly 350, only to find out when I cut into it that it hadn't quite set all the way through. It was still delicious, but a little more custard-y in the middle than cheesecake-y. The directions say 'bake until just set'. So, try that.
Leave the oven on, remove the cheesecake to a rack, and make your sour cream topping. Put the topping on the cake and bake it for 5 more minutes.
Remove it to a rack and the baking process is at an end.
Let the cheesecake cool for 3 hours, cover it, and pop it in the frig. For the covering, I prefer foil. I hate hate hate seran wrap, but decided to try it anyways. Big mistake: it stuck to the top. So, I eventually swapped the seran wrap for foil and this worked much better.

When you want to serve it, let it come up to room temperature with the springform on. And then... Time to be brave.
Unspring it. This part went smoothly, surprisingly. Emmanuelle told me to go slow and it worked without a hitch. Now, garnish it with pecans. And, yes, this pattern is also Emmanuelle-inspired.
Lovely! Delicious!
Thank you, Emmanuelle!

Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecake (adapted from Emmanuelle and
For crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (five 4 3/4 by 2 1/4 inch crackers) [1.5x= 7.5 crackers]*
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped [1.5x=3/4 cup or 2.6 ounces]
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar [1.5x=1/4 cup 2 Tbs]
1/4 cup granulated sugar [1.5x=1/4 cup 2 Tbs]
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled [1.5x=6 Tbs]

For filling
1 15 oz can pumpkin**
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping:
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon

Garnish: pecan halves

To make crust, invert bottom of a 9-inch springorm pan, then lock on side and butter pan. Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugar, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.***

For the filling, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and bourbon in a bowl until combined. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform pan leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes.**** Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make the topping. Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a bowl. Then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered with foil, until cold, at least 4 hours.***** Bring to room temperature before serving. Remove springform and garnish with pecans.

Can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

*Emmanuelle recommends doing 1.5x the crust calls for
** calls for 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin, but a whole can is 1 3/4 cups, so Emmanuelle says why not use it all?
***For this part, Emmanuelle recommends pouring 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom and patting that down. Then, take the 1/4 remaining and line the edge of the pan with it. I failed to do this.
****I baked it for 50 minutes at exactly 350 degrees. It needed to go longer. I will try 55 minutes next time. Emmenualle says she has never actually overcooked it.
*****Foil is better for covering it than seran wrap, so it doesn't stick to the top of the cheesecake.

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