Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 5

This time is going to be the last time for this cheesecake recipe. I know what to do to fix the crust problem. It came to me in a vision. The nuts should be cold to prevent the oil from oozing on the blind bake (baking an empty crust). I'm not sure what will happen with the nut oil during the hour of baking time, but maybe it will, by some miracle, get sucked unnoticed into the cheese.

And if you read the penultimate post, you know that I'm skipping the foil and opting for an oven bag which, if I figure it right, will prevent any water from leaking into the pan.

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 5
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

2 c pecans
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1.5 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 drained 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.

Toast pecans until fragrant, about 7-9 minutes. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Coarsely chop cold pecans.

In batches, pulse chopped pecans and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in food processor until finely ground.

Return all nuts and sugar to chopper, add melted butter; pulse just until combined.

Press into bottom of 9" springform pan.

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

And it worked! The crust is set and dry in just 10 minutes!

Place pan in baking bag; twist loose ends of bag to secure.

Meanwhile, 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.

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.

Chilling the toasted nuts worked like a charm, allowing the crust to brown and dry during the 10 minute baking time, exactly what is expected from the recipe. Minimizing the grinding time in the chopper by coarsely chopping the nuts and then finely chopping them in batches probably helped but I'm not convinced that is absolutely necessary if the nuts are really cold.

I think the oven bag worked. There is a possibility that some of the moisture in the bag is from water but I'm almost positive it was all nut oil. The nut oil has to go somewhere; the idea that it'll get absorbed into the cheese is a pipedream. If I was totally hardcore, I'd have tasted it, but didn't want to know that bad.

I'm not surprised the cheesecake cracked. Having drained the pumpkin, it was quite thick. Combining it with brown sugar and spices, it seemed a lot thicker than the pumpkin mixture of the previous Takes. I didn't add any more than the specified cheese mixture to the pumpkin mix, though I probably should've acted on that hunch. I'm positive, based on Take 2, you want the cheese and pumpkin batters to be about the same viscosity to prevent cracking.

I took the cheesecake to work and I think everyone, myself included, is just burned out on cheesecake. It went, but slowly.

TOTAL: $5.61 or about $0.47 for each of 12 servings.