Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 If you're looking for a CLASSIC pumpkin cheesecake recipe, this is definitely it! As I was searching for recipes and comparing ingredients, I chose this one specifically because it doesn't have too many bells and whistles. Sometimes I find recipes that have so many fillings and toppings and spices that the main ingredient gets completely lost. But with this one, it's just straight up pumpkin and cream cheese, not too many spices, and a little cinnamon and whipped cream on top. In my humble opinion, it's how pumpkin cheesecake is supposed to taste!
 Ok, now, don't be intimidated by the thought of making a cheesecake. It's really easy! The most important thing is to buy a springform pan. After that, it's all downhill! Just follow the directions and there you go! This recipe is from Betty Crocker, but I tweaked it ever so slightly. It's so perfectly delicious. I think this is now my go to pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
 Once you taste it, it'll be yours too!

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp rum extract, if desired
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

 Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening.  In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and the melted butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom of pan. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, rum extract, and pumpkin together until well blended; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually stir in pumpkin mixture and heavy cream until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn oven off; open oven door about 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Carefully remove side of pan before cutting cheesecake. Top with whipped cream, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

 The original recipe called for adding 2 tbs brandy. I decided to add 1 tsp rum extract instead. It was a total game changer! In fact, I think it's what makes this pumpkin cheesecake stand out from all the rest! I also added the heavy cream to the batter (which was also not in the original recipe) because I think it makes it more velvety and smooth. Just sayin!
If you're worried about your cheesecake cracking in the center, I've heard that it helps to put a pan of hot water in the oven on the rack below your cheesecake. TBH, I'm not sure if that works or not. As far as I can tell, the main factor in cheesecake crackage is temperature. If you take a hot cheesecake out of the oven and put it in the cold fridge, you're gonna wind up with the San Andreas Fault right down the middle of your cake. Best to leave it in the oven and turn off the heat, then let it SLOWLY cool to room temperature before you put it in the fridge to chill. And if you do wind up with the San Andreas Fault, don't worry! Just cover the top with whipped cream! No one will ever know!

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