One of my weekly adventures is going to the Williams Sonoma Cooking demos. Well, tonight my mom & I put these "Demos" to the test. We tackled the Pumpkin Cheesecake" tonight to kick off this holiday season.
Now there's a little thing you guys gotta know about me. I can't cook. lol. I boil water, put coffee grinds in it, and then ask, "So how long does it take a brew?". (Yeah one day I learned what Instant Coffee was.) I can make pasta & make brownies, and an occasional pie but all in all cooking isn't my finest hour. But actually after seeing the movie "Julie & Julia" I got motivated to learn how to really cook. And the holidays are the perfect time to showcase it.
The first order of business is the recipe for this Pumpkin Cheesecake.
I got this information via Williams Sonoma. It goes as follows.
A gingersnap crumb crust underlies this spicy cheesecake, and caramel-coated pecans adorn the top, for an irresistible alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. Cut this rich dessert into small wedges to serve.
For the gingersnap crust:
* 1/4 lb. gingersnaps (about 20 small cookies)
* 1/3 cup pecan halves
* 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
* 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
* 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
* 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
* 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
* 3 eggs
* 1 cup pumpkin puree
For the topping:
* 1/2 cup pecan halves
* 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
* 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.
To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the gingersnaps and pecans and process until crumbly. Add the brown sugar and melted butter and pulse for a few seconds to blend. Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared pan. Use your fingers to pat the mixture into the bottom and evenly all the way up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Using a rubber spatula, occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the brown sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree, beating until smooth. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the chilled crust and smooth the top.
Bake the cheesecake until set or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the topping, set aside 10 pecan halves and coarsely chop the rest. In a small fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add all of the pecans, sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and the nuts are toasted and caramel coated. Transfer the nut mixture to a plate and let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped pecans over the cheesecake and arrange the halves evenly around the perimeter. Serves 10 to 12.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Thanksgiving Entertaining, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Simon & Schuster, 2005).
Honestly it's not that hard to make. I don't cook and I was able to read the directions successfully & complete it. I measured out all the spices, cracked the eggs, & used the unsalted butter. It does make a bit of a mess, but cooking is messy. lol. We thought it would be something different for the holidays than the standard apple & pumpkin pies. The above collage is pictures from the process.
One of the things that we did notice about this pie was it took longer than the 30-45 minutes. It all depends on your oven. It was fun. My mom & I had quality mother/daughter time. One of the positives of the holidays is that I'm the only child so I'm the one that gets to help with the cooking. =)
If anyone is looking for something different for the holidays, check out this recipe. Click the Williams Sonoma site above then go to recipes and type in "Pumpkin Cheesecake". It's still baking right now so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that'll it taste good on Thursday. =) This is what it looked like at the demo.
I just wanted to really thank everybody for their comments lately. It's such a weird time in my life so my posts have been on very random topics randomly. But the encouragement & just the fact of knowing that people feel the same way about things is amazing. Thank you thank you!
The title is from the Dommin song, "Dark Holiday", minus the latter part. =P