I'm a huge fan of fall. I love the changing colors of the leaves. I love the musky smell of piles of leaves wet on the ground. I love the cooler nights and shorter days. I love using it as an excuse to bake lots of things with pumpkin in them. So today I present to you a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Graham crust finished off with pecan nougatine(fancy word for caramelized sugar with nuts thrown in, usually almonds, but pumpkin and pecan are just so nummy together). I'm not the biggest cheesecake fan, but I do love this one. As I'm feeling a bit short of words today, I'll just give you the recipe!
Pecan Graham Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (I just whirred a bunch up in my food processor)
1 cup ground pecans (ditto on the above technique)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
-Prepare a 10" spring form pan by buttering it and placing a parchment paper circle in the bottom.
-Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whirrrrrrrr it until it resembles moist sand.
-Press into the bottom of the spring form pan and set aside.
Pumpkin Cheesecake (filling adapted from Marcel Desaulnier's Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion)
2 pounds room temperature cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pound (2 cups) pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp ground cloves)
-Preheat oven to 300f.
-In the bowl of a food processor combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt and process, scraping down the sides every once in awhile, until smooth.
-Add the eggs one at a time, processing well after each addition.
-Add the vanilla, pumpkin puree and spices and process until well blended and smooth.
-Pour the mixture over the crust in the spring form pan, wrap the bottom of the spring form pan in aluminum foil.
-Place the spring form pan into a baking dish deep enough to hold a water bath that will go about 2 inches up the sides of the spring form pan. Place this into the oven and fill the baking dish with water 2 inches up the sides of the spring form.
-Bake for about 1 hour 25 minutes, or until the cheesecake is slightly pulling away at the sides and jiggles like jello (it will continue to set up as it cools and it will pull away from the sides once it is completely cooled). Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool inside with the door propped open for about one hour, remove from oven, let cool at room temp another hour, then refrigerate overnight.
After chilling overnight and unmolding:Pecan Nougatine:
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
1/2 cup pecan pieces
-Place sugar, water and cream of tartar in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat to boiling and allow to boil, swirling the pan a bit, until the sugar has turned a nice golden brown (also wash down the sides of the pan a bit as the sugar is cooking with a pastry brush and some water, or for the first three minutes of the boil, cover the pan and let the condensation wash down the sides for you).
-Once the sugar is a nice golden brown, stir in the pecan pieces. Pour mixture immediately onto a buttered sheet of aluminum foil or a sheet of parchment paper. Do not touch, it is hot! Allow to cool and then break into desired pieces, and place on pumpkin cheesecake as you like!Slice, dollup with whipped cream if you want and enjoy with a nice hot cup of tea, or cider, or coffee or........