11/27/13

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Praline




Right now, Wednesday seems so far from Thursday. And I just don't think this cheesecake will be safe until then.


I've been in  pumpkin paradise  since one local farmer filled his stand with myriad of  orange, cream and  bluish-green pumpkins. The latter I'm completely enamored with.

There's something about fall that puts me in nesting mode.  I bake. I sew. Then I'll sit by a crackling fire and read about  nesting,  baking and sewing.  Ready for  more non sequiturs?
How about the bluish pumpkin-shaped cake, with sugar leaves and berries I made for Mr. Man Pants' birthday? 

 Another reason to love pumpkins is the following recipe for  pumpkin cheesecake. It comes from the sister I never had, Susan Branch. It features  the colors and tastes of fall, with my adaptation of her Bourbon/Praline playing a supporting role; it is loaded with pecans, maple syrup, cream, and I repeat, bourbon.

I dare say this is better than a shirtless Hugh Jackman.  In fact, this is  better than a shirtless Hugh Jackman covered in Bourbon /Praline.  
And I think I speak for everyone when I say, 'Let us give thanks.'


Please Note:   For this cheesecake, I ask that you first combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together, then set aside a small amount of the batter  before combining the rest of the filling ingredients.

The reason is, you'll need a batter with a firmer consistency and enough body that will hold up well for piping your designs.
If you were to combine all the ingredients at once, you would end up with a very runny batter, which would be impossible to control. 

If you'd rather not decorate this cake at all, simply combine all filling  ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into your prepared crust and bake as directed.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:

3 cups broken gingersnaps
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup sugar
2/3 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cover bottom of springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil. In a food processor, finely grind gingersnaps, pecans and sugar. Add butter and process until just combined. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and prepare the filling.


Filling:

4 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 15 oz. can pumpkin purée*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
4 large eggs, room temperature

Have a pastry bag fitted with a #7 round pastry tip at the ready. If you do not own a pastry bag, use a parchment paper cone. I can't recommend a plastic sandwich  baggie, because I can't internalize its 'practicality.' To me, a filled baggie handles much like a wet cat.  And let's face it,  humans and  soapy cats do not  mix.  Them frisky felines will always have the upperhand, or paw, as it were.
However, if a plastic baggie is all you have, go with that. Just keep in mind, a pastry bag is inexpensive, and will give you far better results.

To bake cheesecake:

Place a 9-inch x 13-inch pan, filled halfway with water, on lowest shelf in oven.
In mixer bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.( If you're decorating the cake, now is the time to remove 1/3 cup of  the cream cheese mixture and set aside). 

Add the pumpkin purée and  spices, beating just until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until  combined. Pour cheesecake mixture into cooled crust.

If you'll be decorating the cheesecake, read below for how-tos. Then,  bake cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.
 Remove cake from the oven, and run a thin metal spatula around the edges  to loosen cake and prevent it from cracking.  Leave cake in the pan and allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. 
 When ready to serve, gently warm the Bourbon Praline (below), and drizzle over cheesecake. Serves 10-12.

*I used a roasted pumpkin instead of canned. To roast a pumpkin, poke a 3-4 pound sugar (or other pie) pumpkin all over with a knife. Place whole  pumpkin on a cookie sheet with sides, and bake in a 375°F oven for about 1 hour, or until a knife effortlessly goes through pumpkin.

Set the pumpkin aside until cool enough to handle. Then, slice in half, remove seeds and process pumpkin flesh in a food processor until smooth. Measure what you'll need (I used two cups), and if there's any left, freeze it.

To decorate cheesecake:
Fill prepared pastry bag with the reserved cream cheese mixture. You'll be piping a sequence of 'half-moons' that roughly resemble Christmas trees.
At this point, drag the tip of the pastry tube (or a wooden skewer), through the center of each 'tree' (starting at the narrow end), draw your skewer through each one. This step transforms them into simple, pretty leaves. You could pipe a series of leaves around the edge of the cake (as pictured), or scatter them all over the cake, if you like. You could also tint the batter with paste food colors.
You hold the artistic reins here.



Bourbon Praline 

¾ cup pecans, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons bourbon

Melt butter in a skillet. Place chopped pecans in melted butter and toast until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, except for bourbon. and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let it boil. Stir in bourbon and pecans. Makes 2 cups.



A few days ago, we woke up to a light dusting of snow. A sight to behold. But I will miss the autumn sky.

May your cornucopia runneth over with thankful hearts, amid joyful noise  from your favorite people and many lasting memories. Oh, and lump-free gravy.

 Happy Thanksgiving to all!


24 comments:

  1. A fantastic cheesecake! I bet it tastes heavenly. That is such a great flavor combination.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Sol, It is always a treat to wake up and find that you have posted something new to Memories in the Baking.

    Your photos and composition are special. Love the first picture of the blue/green pumpkin.

    Any cheesecake with a praline caramel sauce would not be safe around me until Thursday.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    ~Ann

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  3. Not very lady-like of me to drool, but but that is one delicious amazing fantastic cheesecake! Happy Thanksgiving, Sol, to you and your family!

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    1. Carol, not very lady-like? It was my shameless alter ego that put bourbon all over Hugh Jackman, So, drool away. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

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  4. Anonymous29/11/13

    I'm partaking of that bourbon sauce... and I am so glad you suggested it for pumpkin cheesecake-a delightful bit of yin and yang. Keep up the great work! Thanks for the great contribution to my family's table.

    -Robin

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  5. I'm sure it was a delicious one at your home, Sol! I love how you designed that first shot - so beautiful. and that greenish blue pumpkin is charming.

    I feel in love with pumpkin cheesecake years ago but this one has certainly taken it up more than several notches. With Bourbon Praline, notched up again!

    Let's just say that Hugh Jackman has enough body to hold up to my piping designs :)

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    1. Susan, do they make 30-inch pastry bags? We could spend HOURS 'decorating' Hugh Jackman :)

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  6. That feathering looks stunning!!! May I steal your idea :)
    R

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    1. Thank you very kindly Radhika; I'd love to see what you end up doing with this idea.

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  7. Just signed up to follow your blog! So glad that you visited me....or else I'd have completely forgotton how much I was in love with your blog when I first visited.
    Radhika

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  8. Sol, always a treat to see a new post at Memories in the Baking. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Any cheesecake with a praline caramel sauce would be divine. My mom always made a praline cheesecake, and this sauce would put it over the top. I am impressed with your piping design.

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you Debbie xo

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  9. Gahhh woman, you are so talented! Your creations just blow me away. Seriously. Bourbon praline and HJ ~ let us give thanks indeed!

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  10. An absolutely beautiful cake Marysol! And better than Hugh Jackman? That's tough indeed but it does look the case! :D Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  11. Thank you so very much my dear friends! I hope your TG was deliciously memorable, with or without Mr. Jackman :)

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  12. The supporting role is always necessary to complement the main characters! So this cake with the bourbon praline is all perfect.

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  13. What a positively gorgeous cheesecake. So artistic with the designs. And I'm sure it tastes divine.

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  14. How incredibly beautiful. You are so gifted! I would love to see snippets of your holiday home, especially your crystal tree. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

    Nancy

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  15. Thank you all very much for visiting with me!

    Dear Nancy, there's a pic somewhere on this blog of my little Christmas tree. The guys have a manly tree, whereas mine is more like yours, sparkly and bright, so that Santa will hopefully find my house. I'll look it up and send it your way.

    Happy Holidays to all!

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  16. I love cheesecake and especially pumpkin cheesecake. This looks divine! Hope you're having a lovely holiday season!

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  17. Oh my, how delicious! The photography is very enticing, too.

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  18. ....MMM that looks good, I love cheesecake and I make them all the time but I have never had pumpkin cheesecake. I am going to try your recipe. I just posted this week a Chocolate Cheesecake recipe, take a look; http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/chocolate-cheesecake/

    Michael :-)

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  19. Oh wow! Your cheesecake looks so perfect! And I absolutely love how everything is decorated!

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  20. Thank you guys for the warm response! I hope you'll try this cake sometime soon.

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