Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Cranberry Geleé

This started out as a pumpkin cheesecake TART with the cranberry goop on top, but after realizing that:

1.) Pastries take a long time, and this cake was already going to take at least a day to do, with chilling times and everything,

2.) New Mexican dry air conditions are rarely beneficial to pastry dough

and

3.) I don't own a tart pan.

I decided to just turn this into a regular pumpkin cheesecake.

Now, I realized this all after I had powdered the almonds, and blended the flour, and creamed/fluffed the butter and powdered sugar for the pastry.

I decided I would try to just turn this pastry into a pecany almondy bready crust for the pumpkin cheesecake. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that the crust would rise, and when I finished baking this kitchen sink crust, I ended up with a "crust" that more resembled a puffed up cookie. This "cookie" took up about half of my spring form, which meant a really thin cheesecake.

I scrapped the cookie crust, and started over. This time I'd make a much more traditional pecan crust. Thin, and perfect for cheesing and caking.

After the colossal crust confound, everything else went smoothly. Dare I say creamily? I think so.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Cranberry Geleé

Crust

1 Cup Pecans, finely chopped (almost powdered, like sand)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Almond Extract

Filling:

16 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 inch section of Ginger pressed through a garlic press
1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
1/8 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
pinch of fresh Ground White Pepper
pinch Salt
10 oz. Pumpkin Pureé
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup (please don't substitute Eggo waffle syrup...)
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs

Cranberry Geleé

2 Cups fresh Cranberries (1/2 pound)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Orange Juice
1-1/2 tsp Unflavored Gelatin
Water

Oven at 350 F.

Combine all the crust ingredients until homogeneous. Press into a 9X3 inch circular spring form pan, using a measuring cup to press the crust about half way up the sides of the spring form.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Oven down to 300 F.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, ground spices, nutmeg and salt, and blend until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin pureé, until once again smooth. Beat in the cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and eggs slowly until uniform... and smooth!

Wrap the bottom of the spring form in a few layers of aluminum foil and crimp the foil up the sides (so the cheesecake won't get wet when we stick in a bain-marie)

Pour the filling into the crusted spring form and set the pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water, until the level of water is about half way up the spring form sides.

Bake the cakes for 60-70 minutes, until set, but the center is still jiggly (i.e. not liquid). Be careful not to overcook. The custard will set when it cools in the fridge, later.

Let the cake cool.

Ok, the cranberry goop.

In and medium sauce pan, combine the cranberries and 1/2 cup of water and cook over moderate heat until the cranberries pop and open up. Let cool, and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth, and then press through a fine sieve. Rinse out the sauce pan.

Add the sugar, and 1/4 cup of water and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and just begins to boil. Stir in the orange juice and cranberry pureé.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 Tbsp of water and let stand until softened. Microwave the gelatin about 10 seconds until melted. Whisk the melted gelatin into the pureé mixture, and pour the cranberry sauce over the cheesecake, SLOWLY!

Refrigerate the hell out of the cake. Usually over night.

Make sure to slip a knife between the spring form and the cake before removing the sides. And use a warm knife to cut the cake.

*NOTE The cheesecake could have been a little more firm, and I would propose either adding an extra egg or even a Tbsp or two of cornstarch to the filling. But I have no idea if these will work to benefit.

5 comments:

Graeme said...

Wonderful texture, Lance. Looks like it's *just* set perfectly.

Thanks for your comment on the rice pudding, btw.

Nemmie said...

That is absolutely GORGEOUS!

Aimée said...

You should be proud of this cheesecake. The colors are vibrant and it looks silky smooth. Bravo!

Liz said...

umm, lance, you should just live with me forever cooking all sorts of delectable delights. <3 pumpkin + cheesecake.

Corrina said...

OMG.

This kicks some ass.

*fave*