A couple of winters ago, I found this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe on Epicurious.com. The first time I made it, I selfishly inhaled it in probably too few sittings. It is insanely good. However, one should prepare to go straight to confession afterwards because this recipe will turn you straight into a glutton. The second time I made it, I decided I would bring it to work to spread the sins around to others – it was the least I could do. I put it on the table in the kitchen and after the first taker collapsed to the floor in convulsions of ecstasy it disappeared like one of those silent films on fast forward. Make no mistake, if you are brave enough to make this recipe it will be demolished. After bringing this cheesecake in I almost began to fear my power. Seriously, I thought they were going to erect a monument after me. So I’ve filed this recipe away in my mind as a tried and true fallback.
It is perfect for:
- Making friends
- Getting one’s self out of the dog house after various sins or indiscretions
- Forming quick and immediate bonds with in-laws and bosses from whom you would like promotions
- As a consolation prize when someone asks you to do something too physical or time-consuming (like helping them move or driving them to the airport at 5:30 in the morning.)
- For job interviews to give you that extra edge (ignore the weird looks, as soon as you leave the interview they will be face-down on the desk gorging themselves). Plan on setting up your new desk Monday.
- Keeping an extra one in the front car seat at all times. Known to pacify power-hungry cops, making them forget they wanted to give you a ticket and forever severing their love affair with doughnuts.
- Instantly silencing whining and persecuted children. (Caveat emptor: Ingestion and sugar rush will cause hypermania, best to prepare a locked room with padded walls for kids to come down in.)
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE SWIRL
- 1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (about 6 ounces)
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
- 9 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon (about) purchased caramel sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind ground cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust (filling will almost fill pan). Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Bring remaining 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add remaining 5 tablespoons whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Release pan sides from cheesecake. Spoon sour cream into pastry bag fitted with small star tip (do not stir before using). Pipe decorative border around cheesecake and serve.