Monday, November 17, 2014

Pecan Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Last year, I was asked if  I made pumpkin cheesecakes. Cheescakes were not really a specialty of mine. And I didn't really eat cheesecakes too often, so I said I didn't. But I promised to try to make it this year. Well, I'm always good on my word, so I made it a mission of mine to look for theee best Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe and I think I've found it from I am Baker. This is her version of the Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake. However, I decided to switch it up and make a ginger snap and pecan crust, which I think took this recipe over the top.

Baking a cheesecake is pretty tricky. Bake it too long and you'll end up with cracks in the middle of your cheesecake. So I searched for different tricks on how to bake it and I toyed with different baking methods using straight baking and water-bath baking. Although I really liked the texture and appearance of the cheesecake after water-bath baking, I often ended up with a soggy crust due to the water seeping into the springform baking pan. Straight baking made the outer edges of the cheesecake look darker, but they always came out consistent. So its all in your preference. There is also a lot of cooling time for cheesecake. Properly cooling it will help prevent the cracks from forming.

There is a lot of work and effort into baking a cheesecake but there is no doubt that it will be delicious. The caramel sauce totally makes this cheesecake decadent. This definitely made me a pumpkin cheesecake lover. But only MY pumpkin cheesecake. lol. Hubby took one bite and I had him in the palm of my hand. He was definitely proud of this dessert of mine. I had him take some to work and I immediately had some people order for their Thanksgiving celebrations. This will definitely be made frequently in our household.

32 pieces of ginger snap cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted

1) Finely crush cookies in a food processor. Mix in butter, sugar and chopped pecans.

2) Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. This is important to make sure your cheesecake releases nicely from the pan. Press the cookie mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
prepared whipped cream
caramel sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

2) In an electric stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.

3) Add pumpkin, eggs and pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

4) Pour filling into prepared pan.

5) Place in the oven (or place on a roasting pan filled with water and place in the oven). Bake for 50-55 minutes. The center should still be jiggly after baking time.

6) Turn the oven off (and remove from the roasting pan if you are water-bath baking). Allow the cheesecake to cool inside the oven with the oven door slightly ajar. This will cool the oven down and allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, which will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking. This may take a couple of hours.

7) Once the oven has cooled down, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to completely cool at room temperature.

8) Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight. Top with prepared whipped cream and drizzle caramel sauce.

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