Friday, November 27, 2015

Pumpkin Cheesecake (and Thanksgiving!)

When I cook for work, everyone wants me to make my strawberry cake or baked macaroni & cheese.  And it's great to be appreciated for those things, but sometimes I just want to try something new!  So I volunteered to make the dessert for my family's small Thanksgiving gathering (we do a bigger family shindig later), with a Pumpkin Cheesecake in mind.

Dan loves the holiday cheesecakes from The Cheesecake Factory, so I wanted to do something similar.  He prefers both the Pumpkin and the Pumpkin Pecan cheesecakes, but I decided to go with the former due to simplicity.  I used this recipe, but ran into a couple of SNAFUs of my own doing along the way, with typical Aubrey solves.

First off, I have three springform pans, but I don't have a roasting pan yet.  So when it came to figuring out a bain marie (water bath) I had to use my 8" springform with a large rectangular cake pan, instead of a 10".  That meant I made a lot of crust and filling.  So I decided to make some mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan, to gift to my friend Lindsey.  Problem solved!

Mixing the ingredients for the filling in my Kitchenaid is always my favorite part!  I used vanilla bean paste from a local shop instead of vanilla extract... I just think it's better, and I love seeing the vanilla bean specks.

It looked so perfect going into the oven!  You can see how I wrapped the springform pan in foil and placed it in a cake pan to serve as a bain marie.  I added the boiling water once the pan was placed in the oven.

So then I cooked everything according to the instructions, but I didn't watch carefully enough!  I ended up with a brown crust on top.  I wonder if I should have wrapped foil over the top?  Any advice?  The top part was elevated and almost separating from the cheesecake, so I used a spatula to lift the brown part off.  Problem solved, again!  (Dan ate the brown crust and said it was tasty.  No waste!)

Before and after the brown crust removal

I added some honey roasted pecan bits (shortcut: used the kind that can be used to top salads) and then whipped cream for serving.  You could use the whipped cream to decorate the top, but I let people add it as they wished.

To me, it tasted like pumpkin pie and cheesecake combined in the best way.  I think I would have preferred a pie crust to the graham cracker crust, but that's just me!  I'm no longer afraid to make cheesecake now which is both delightful and dangerous.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I have another meal ahead with our extended family, but Dan and I joined my parents and cousin for a delicious dinner.  Since there was a small group, we made a turkey breast, and I carved it!  We had a great spread, with the cheesecake as the dessert event.  Yummy all-around.  We also went to the movies, because that is a Thanksgiving night tradition for my family! XOXO!

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