Pumpkin Cheesecake

Any regular reader of this blog will know that I love turning veggies into cheesecake. So Pumpkin Cheesecake was always going to be on the Thanksgiving menu. And though I typically don’t care so much about the appearances so long as the taste is great, this year I was determined to finally make one that didn’t crack.

Does anyone out there actually know how to do this? How is it that the Cheesecake Factory can turn out flawless cake after flawless cake, and I can’t get even one to set without developing deep fault lines?

I guessed that my problem had been in the pumpkin to cheese ratio, so this year, I went with a Martha Stewart cake that promised to be cheesy perfection. No such luck. Even though it only called for one cup of pumpkin to four bricks of cheese, it cracked in several places.

Also? it wasn’t very pumpkin-flavored. The squash got totally overwhelmed by the cheese. So I decided that it needed a sauce. Together, they were a real squash delight.

Here’s the Cheesecake recipe.

To make Pumpkin Caramel Sauce:

Mix 1C sugar with 2 Tbs water and set over medium heat in a saucepan to caramelize. Let the sugar develop into a nice deep brown. When I did this part, I was on the phone with my mom, and I kinda jumped the gun. Should that happen to you as well, I’ll tell you how to fix it in a bit. Add 1 C heavy cream and 2 Tbs cognac. Add in 1 C pumpkin puree and stir well. At this point, if you have done right by your sugar, you should have a nice creamy caramel. If you have messed up the timing however, you can just boil down until your sauce gets nice and thick. A dusting of sea salt will take the sauce from merely delicious to absolutely divine!

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About christianathomas

I'm a working mother of two trying to make eating well fit into our hectic lives. I also used to own a completely chaotic bakery. Follow me for tips and tricks on how to get more whole foods into your diet.
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2 Responses to Pumpkin Cheesecake

  1. Nathan D says:

    I am no expert, but having read about it several places I have heard there are 3 keys to not cracking:

    1) Not over-mixing the ingredients – apparently treating it more like pastry is the way to go here, where the key is preventing air bubbles.

    2) Not over-cooking (never get above 160 degrees) – should jiggle non-trivially when it comes out. (apparently water baths help keep the heat even, as with a more delicate custard)

    3) Separate from the pan after only a few minutes of cooling (by running a knife along the edge), so it doesn’t crack as it shrinks from cooling.

    Then there’s adding various starchy stabilizers, but that seems wrong.

    Much more thorough discussion here:

    http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/bakingtips.cheesecakes/Cheesecakes.cfm

  2. Christiana says:

    Excellent resource! Also, I think you answered my burning question – i.e. why Cheesecake Factory manages to turn out perfect cakes. It must be stabilizers…

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