Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

This weekend I decided to make a pumpkin cheesecake to celebrate Easter. Yes, I know it's spring, not fall, so pumpkin is technically not in season, but I'm pretty sure it was in season when it was canned. Or maybe it wasn't, but whatever, I loved it. Thank you ED Smith, but mostly, thank you Jesus. I don't think I will ever truly realize the gravity of your sacrifice, but I'm so glad that I serve a God that lives and loves us more than anything. Because of Him, I am free.

I found this recipe here. I adapted it to my own tastes, but I would definitely love to make the full recipe next time.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 1 400g box of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup browned butter

  • 3 pkgs cream cheese (8 oz each)
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 salt

Brown your butter in a saucepan, add to the cracker crumbs and sugar. Pack into the bottom of a 10 inch springfoam pan. You don't have to use browned butter, of course, and if you don't then use only half a cup of melted butter. But again, go by your own tastes and what you want. I've been hearing a lot about browned butter lately so I thought I would be creative and try it in here.

Bake in a 350' oven for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Yes, I am doing this in a green plastic Christmas bowl. I also used a handheld blender to beat everything in the recipe.

Beat in the spices and salt. You can adjust the spices to your taste. If you want more ginger and less nutmeg, do it. It's your cake, have it the way you want.

Add the pumpkin.

Beat in one egg at a time.

Stir in the heavy cream.

Pour in pan on top of cooled crust. Bake in center of oven on 350' for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm and not jiggly in the middle. Let cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Cheesecake the next day. Mine cracked a lot, and usually that's not a good thing, but I actually thought it was beautiful that way. Adds character  ;)

A friend told me later that whenever she makes a cheesecake after it cooks she turns the heat off but leaves it in the oven for 2 hours, and that prevents it from cracking. My mom told me it's also important to take a knife and go around the edges of the pan or else it will crack even more. What are mothers and friends for if not to give tips on how to not crack a cheesecake  :P

Now, for the salted caramel sauce:

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (artificial vanilla flavouring should be banned)
1-1.5 tsp salt

Put sugars and waters in saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat, and continue to boil for approx. 4 minutes. The caramel will be a little dark because of the brown sugar, so it's ok. This was also my first time making caramel so I was a little nervous, but it's really nothing to worry about. So simple! You just have to keep your eye on it.

Take caramel off the heat and stir in cream, butter, and salt. I added just under 1 teaspoon. Don't be afraid to add the salt, it doesn't make it salty, it just balances out the sweetness so it's not over the top. The author of this recipe, again found here, described this as "yin and yang" and that really is a good way to describe it.

Let caramel cool a bit and then add the vanilla.

Let cool completely before serving. Look at the thick crust on that cheesecake! The crust is my favourite part.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream, pour over some caramel and enjoy!

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