All Things Pumpkin Flavored, Voume 3: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I don’t bake much, there’s something about the rigidity of the measurements doesn’t mesh well with my approach to cooking. But as I’ve already noted on the blog, I’ve got a soft spot for pumpkin flavored food. I tried my hand at a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago and I’ve been working to perfect it each year since. I wasn’t able to bake one this year, so I thought I’d share the recipe. And here’s a photo from a couple of years ago.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

Pumpkin Cheesecake from Thanksgiving 2006

Now here’s the difficult part, it’s based on an Emeril recipe that I got from the Food Network website. I know, I know…but when it comes to sweet over-the-top food, he’s got a bit of a good thing going. So here it is, for my last installment of “All Things Pumpkin Flavored,” I give you pumpkin cheesecake. Happy Thanksgiving!

Click more for the recipe.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Topping

For the Cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups ginger snaps, ground into crumbs
1 cup ground nuts (I use a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts)
1 stick melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degress. To make the crust, combine the crumbs, nuts, and butter in a food processor until smooth. Press the mixture into a spring form pan (either a 10 or 12 inch pan works). Bake the crust in the oven for 15 minutes (You might want to set the pan on a tray in order to prevent any liquid from seeping out – that can create quite a smoky mess in your kitchen).

In a food processor, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add the brown sugar and blend. Add the eggs one at a time and blend into the mixture. Add the heavy cream. Blend in the flour, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Finally, add the pumpkin puree and blend. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake is set. Remove from the oven and use a knife to loosen from the sides of the pan. Let the cake completely cool and then chill in the refrigerator.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Heat the cream until it comes to a simmer and remove. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and pour in the cream. Allow to sit for about 15 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow to cool and firm up a little bit, stirring occasionally.

Putting it All Together:

Remove the side from the spring form pan and places the cake on metal rack over a sheet pan. Pour a good amount of the chocolate ganache over the cake and smooth over the top and sides with a spatula, add more ganache as needed. To top it all off, you can sprinkle a mixture of chopped nuts all over the top of cake or in a ring around the outside as pictured above. Chill in the refrigerator until the ganache is firm.

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