Sunday, December 2, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 2

The crust will not beat me. There's a gap between the bottom of the blender jar and the bottom of the blades. As the blades turn, that friction zone gets warm and the nuts stuck there start turning into butter. That's the hypothesis anyway. I'll reduce the blending time by coarsely chopping the nuts first. And I think the blending changes when items are added so I'll ziz the nuts a little then add the sugar before a final ziz. That should eliminate the nut-butter problem and hopefully will help the crust get dry and set during the initial baking time. Oh, and I'm going to use only Kirkland pecans.

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 2
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

2 c pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

24-oz cream cheese, softened
1 c packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 c sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 325°F.

Pulse pecans in blender until just slightly ground. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and grind until fairly fine.

Transfer ground nuts to a bowl; add melted butter and stir until combined.

Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Press nut mixture into bottom of pan.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until set and dry. Cool on wire rack.

Crust checked after 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed just until blended.

Beat in sour cream and vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time, beating at low speed just until combined.

Whisk pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in medium bowl.

Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the cheesecake mixture.

Spoon half of the remaining plain cheesecake mixture into crust. Top with half of the pumpkin filling. Repeat (do not spread evenly for best swirls).

With knife or metal spatula, gently swirl through batter to achieve a marbled effect.

I'm impressed by how simple this was to do.

Place springform pan in large shallow roasting or broiler pan; add enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid.

Remove springform pan from roasting pan; remove foil. Cool on wire rack to room temperature.

Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Store in refrigerator.

Hooray! I think I got the crust nearly figured out. At least it's better than last time. Pecan brand is doubtful for the cause of the crust to set; I'm quite confident it has more to do with the amount of time the nuts are spent in the blender. Next time I'll reduce that time even further to further support that hypothesis.

Unfortunately, there was a breach in the foil where the springform pan clasps. And sure enough, there was water inside the foil. To see if there was water in the crust, I tilted the pan toward the clasp and about a tablespoon of water came out. ARRRGH! Who wants to eat soggy cheesecake?! I will keep the cheesecake and see if I can do something to salvage the crust. The next cheesecake will get wrapped with foil twice.

And I achieved swirls! Later in the evening, after tilting the cheesecake to see how much more water would come out, I noticed that the cheesecake did crack - right at the pumpkin-plain cheesecake divides. Maybe the slight difference in their consistencies plays a role. Or maybe I just shouldn't lift a warm cheesecake to a 45° angle.

Total: $8.95 but I'll round up to $9.50 considering spices, making each of 12 servings about $0.79.