30 November 2009

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

When you experiment with recipes the way I do, you learn things. This time, I learned that The Pioneer Woman has a magic kitchen and I have no way of duplicating her magic ways in my humble non-magic kitchen.

You see, PW has a recipe for a similar cheesecake with caramel sauce on the crust as well as on top of the cheesecake. I tried it, and the crust just turned to mush. She warned that attempts may require a specific brand of both gingersnaps and caramel sauce, but I thought I'd be fine just matching the caramel sauce. Nope.

However, the flavor of this cheesecake (which is a combination of PW's recipe and another, with my own twists) is phenomenal, so I definitely recommend trying it. Just follow my new and improved recipe and leave the caramel sauce off the crust. Trust me, you won't even notice it's missing. There's enough glossy caramel on top of the cheesecake to more than make up for it.

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
1 1/2 cups store-bought gingersnaps (so they're really crunchy)*
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
6 ozs caramel sauce/sundae topping
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
4 packages (8ozs each) cream cheese (Full fat, please. This ain't no diet cheesecake.)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
15 ozs pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)

*To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free gingersnaps. They were very easy to find in my mainstream grocery store.

Crust:
  • Place gingersnaps in food processor. Pulse until you have even, fine crumbs.
  • Add brown sugar and melted butter; pulse again until thoroughly combined.
  • Press into the bottom of a greased or parchment-lined 10" springform pan.**
  • Sprinkle pecans evenly over crust, if using.
Filling:
  • In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until combined, but on low speed to avoid incorporating air.
  • Add pumpkin and spices; mix until combined.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and mix each thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in bourbon.
  • Pour filling onto crust.
  • Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until no longer soupy. Jiggly in the middle is OK--jiggly like Jell-O, not soupy like soup.
  • Cracks are fine! It all tastes the same.
  • Cool on rack for 30 minutes, then pour caramel sauce on top and spread evenly.
  • Cover carefully (plastic wrap will stick to the caramel--I used toothpicks to elevate the plastic wrap) and refrigerate cheesecake overnight before serving.

**I used a 9" springform pan, because it was the biggest I had. There was too much filling for a 9". If you use a 9" or smaller, pour the filling into the pan, but leave at least 1/2" of space at the top of the pan. Pour any leftover fillings into ramekins or other baking dish and bake (for less time) for a portion-controlled treat.

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