Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had this pumpkin cheesecake for dessert on Christmas Eve. We have no standard dessert for this elegant dinner, but I did have a plate of cookies for backup in case this didn't work out. This recipe from America's Test Kitchen (like all ATK, Cooks Illustrated and Cooks Country recipes) is a piece of work. Lots of ingredients, lots of steps and lots of equipment. The results were well worth the trouble, and complemented our beautiful dinner perfectly. Andrew thought it is the best thing I've made with pumpkin so far. It really is restaurant quality, but I have other favorites too.

a normal piece

a Kevin piece (loves the cream)

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

5 ounces graham crackers
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg, cloves and allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, diced, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon juice
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream

1. Crust - Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar and spices in food processor until finely ground. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Pour crumbs into springform pan and, using your hand, spread crumbs into an even layer. Using something with a flat bottom, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan.
Bake about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

2. Filling - Bring about 4 quarts of water to simmer in a stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin: spread pumpkin over three layers of paper towels and top with three more layers. Pat until towels are saturated. Discard paper towels.

3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minutes. Add one third of sugar mixture and beat 1 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add remaining sugar mixture in two additions. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined. Add 3 eggs, beat at medium low for 45 seconds. Add 2 eggs and beat again for 45 seconds. Add heavy cream and beat on low for 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

4.  Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square double layer of heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 - 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours. Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

My foil is not 18 inches wide so I believe it was not water tight in the roasting pan. Next time I will get a wider roll of foil in order to insure no water gets in. Also I took it out when the thermometer read 150 degrees, but thought it was too wobbly. It firmed up with sitting. I don't know why I thought the crust needed to come up the sides, the recipe doesn't call for it.


  1. Yum- jealous, as our NYE dinner consisted of appetizers, 1/2 of which never even got made. And there was no dessert. Fail!

  2. This was incredibly good. Without a doubt my favorite thing so far. I wish I had more right now.


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