Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Giving Thanks for Cheap and Easy to Use Kitchen Gadgets

I’d rather eat vegan for a week than write a blog post on why pumpkin cheesecakes crack, but I’m more than happy to explain how to get that perfect, creamy-custardy, probably-won’t-crack doneness you all deserve. Use a digital thermometer. Okay, that was a little anticlimactic, but it really is that simple.

If you turn off the heat when the cheesecake’s internal temp is between 155-160 F., and let it cool slowly in the warm oven, you should get exactly what you see here. The reason a thermometer is so key, is that going just by sight is hard to do. Even at 155 F., a cheesecake has a fairly jiggly middle, and really does look undercooked. Many cooks get scared and leave it in for a few more minutes, which can make all the difference.

This should take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Many factors are involved, but a big one is the temperature of your cheese and eggs. Mine were cold, which not only makes mixing harder, but also will increase cooking time, as a room temp batter starts cooking sooner. So, to recap, use a thermometer.

That covers the cheesecake, but what about the ginger snap crust? It was okay. The flavor was great, but it got a little gritty and gummy, and I'm not sure which, if any, of the thirty-five ingredients in the cookies was responsible. Maybe a little pre-baking would help, but I can't pretend to be overly concerned. Feel free to improve, or just go graham cracker.

This recipe was adapted from one found on my friend Elise’s blog, Simply Recipes. She’s one of my all-time favorites (food bloggers and people), and I insist you head over there to check out her gorgeous version as well. I (we) hope you give this easy pumpkin cheesecake a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 1 Pumpkin Cheesecake (10 slices)
Note: This is not a classic, dense, NY-style cheesecake, and has more of a creamy, custardy texture.

For the crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg yolk

4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (15-oz) cans pure pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup all purpose flour

*Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until internal temp is between 155-160 F. Let cool in warm oven, with door cracked.