A well made cheesecake is a very creamy taste of nirvana. It is a rich dessert, the quality of which depends a lot on the ingredients used. Typical recipes for plain cheesecake use conventional methods and ingredients. This recipe is one Peggy obtained from cookingclub.com and it is superb and a bit involved, but definitely worth the effort to create perfection. The directions I provide in this recipe are very detailed and modified to assure success and ease of preparation, and rather more detailed and helpful than what was provided in the cookingclub.com recipe.
As is typical in making topped or swirled cheesecakes, this recipe consists of a three part procedure. The first is making the crust for the bottom of the cheesecake. The second is making the filling for the cheesecake. The third is adding the topping or the swirled ingredients addition at the right time. For example, when making cheesecake with cherry topping the topping isn't applied until after the cake is baked and chilled. Conversely, when making a cheesecake with a swirled flavor addition, that addition is made just before baking the cheesecake.
The cookingclub.com recipe noted that either dark or light brown sugar can be used in the recipe, based on the flavor effect wanted, considering that dark brown sugar has a larger amount of molasses used when it is made. We used a half and half mixture of dark and light brown sugar ... a middle of the road approach.
Note that a 9" diameter springform pan is required for making a traditional cheesecake. Beyond that, we used a piece of parchment paper cut into a 9" diameter circle inside the springform pan before making the crust and pressing it into place. The parchment paper makes it easy later to move the completed cheesecake from the bottom of the springform pan to a serving platter. Other required materials include a shallow baking or roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan, and, heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap the outside of the springform pan to make it waterproof during baking.
2 cups of raw pecan halves, toasted in a 325 degrees F oven for 12 minutes
2 tablespoons of packed dark or light brown sugar
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
Cheese Filling Ingredients:
3, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup of packed dark or light brown sugar
3/4 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 large or extra large eggs
Swirl Filling Ingredients:
1 cup of pure canned unseasoned pumpkin filling of the type used to make pumpkin pie
1/4 cup of packed dark or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Spread the raw pecan halves on a cookie sheet evenly and toast them in the oven for five minutes. Then stir the pecans and respread them evenly and toast them for another five minutes. If they are fairly dry and break easily they are ready to use for the crust. If not, let them toast for an additional 2 minutes or more until they break easily but are not dark or burned.
Put the toasted pecan halves onto a plate and let them cool for five minutes.
Wrap the outside of the springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, such that it will not allow water into the springform pan from the bottom or the fastening clip area. The aluminum foil should cover the entire bottom and outside area of the springform pan. That means the best aluminum foil to use is the extra wide (18" wide) heavy duty type.
Cut out a 9" diameter circle of parchment paper from a typical roll/box of parchment paper used for baking. Eliminate the tendency of the circle of parchment paper to curl by curling it fairly tightly in reverse once or twice. Place the circle of parchment paper into the inside bottom of the springform pan.
Use a medium to large size food processor on slow to medium speed pulse mode to process the pecan halves and the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar until the pecans are finely ground and mixed with the brown sugar, but be very careful not to over process the mixture or it will become a useless pulp of pecan paste. The caution provided here is to have the cook avoid using a small food processor as the processing time to grind all the pecans in one pass is just what is needed to ruin the pecans, turning them into a useless paste.
Add the melted butter to the pecan and brown sugar mixture and pulse briefly just until the butter is combined evenly with the other ingredients.
Press the crust mixture evenly into the inside bottom of the springform pan, on top of the parchment paper.
Bake the crust in the 325 degrees F oven for 10 minutes or, if necessary, a few minutes more just until the crust mixture is set and dry. (A crust should be crusty, not pasty or soft and not hard as a brick.)
Remove the springform pan from the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool.
Cheese Filling Directions:
Beat the cream cheese and the 3/4 cup of brown sugar using a conventional electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and blended.
Add the sour cream and the vanilla to the mixture and mix on medium speed for one minute.
Break the eggs into a bowl and then add the eggs a little at a time to the cheese mixture and then beat the mixture on slow speed for one minute and then medium speed for one minute to create a uniform blended mixture. I like to use a spatula to scrape down the inside of the mixing bowl after the first slow speed cycle so all the ingredients get well mixed during the second, medium speed cycle.
Spoon half of the cheese filling mixture into the springform pan and spread it evenly to cover the surface of the crust.
Set the remainder of the cheese filling mixture aside.
Swirl Filling Directions:
Whisk the pumpkin filling with the 1/4 cup of brown sugar in a one quart bowl.
Add the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and whisk to blend the spices with the pumpkin mixture.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cheese filling mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until well blended.
Spoon half of the remaining cheese filling mixture into the springform pan without making any effort to smooth out that addition.
Add half of the pumpkin mixture on top of and around the added cheese mixture filling.
Repeat the additions, using the remaining portions of the cheese mixture filling and the pumpkin mixture.
Make the top surface of the cheesecake flat without mixing the filling. Simply lightly use the underside of a soup spoon to gently make the surface flat, such that the filling contacts the inside wall of the springform pan evenly.
Use a table knife inserted vertically into the filling to create a swirl effect inside the mixture, to achieve a marbled effect, but do not overmix.
Baking, Chilling and Serving Directions:
Put the springform pan into the shallow baking/roasting pan.
Fill the baking/roasting pan with hot tap water until the water is deep enough to come halfway up the side of the springform pan.
Put the baking/roasting pan into the 325 degrees F oven carefully and bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes.
Check the cheesecake for doneness. This is done by pulling out the oven rack that holds the baking/roasting pan and then holding the sides of the springform pan and gently shaking it side to side for only a moment. If the center of the cheesecake ripples then it is not done. If it simply moves slightly then the cheesecake is done baking.
If additional baking time is necessary then only increase the baking time in five minute intervals, checking after each interval for doneness.
When baking is complete remove the springform pan from the roasting pan, remove and discard the aluminum foil, and place the springform pan on a wire rack to cool the cheesecake to room temperature.
Place the springform pan into the refrigerator and chill the cheesecake overnight, uncovered.
When ready to serve the cheesecake, loosen the side surface of the cheesecake from the inside of the springform pan with a table knife, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and slide the parchment paper and cheesecake onto a chilled serving dish or platter. You may want to use a thin flat spatula to get under the parchment paper for easy removal of the cheesecake from the bottom of the springform pan.
Typically a cheesecake of 9" diameter size makes 12 servings, each about 475 calories. Zowie!
Enjoy ... Then join WeightWatchers®!