Sunday, October 11, 2009

Falling for Gourmet's Pumpkin Cheesecake

In early summer 1983, at age 28, I became engaged. That fall, I married my husband, Mark.  Although I was an avid Gourmet reader, I often thought the recipes looked more complicated than I wanted to deal with. One grabbed my eye, though, and remains in my recipe file to this day - Pumpkin Cheesecake Supreme. It has become a centerpiece of Thanksgiving celebrations with family and fall dinners with friends.

I've got to admit I have a tough time sticking with even the best recipe because I love to 'play' in the kitchen. So it probably won't surprise you to know this is one of the very few times I've ever made the topping for this cheesecake; or that I didn't bother to buy pecans when I always have walnuts on hand. We also prefer cheesecake with a lower crust, only. But I've printed the original recipe and your dessert won't taste terribly different from mine. Maybe you'll also be a little adventurous with it yourself, after trying the original version. :)

Thanks, Gourmet, for a recipe that has served me well through 26 years!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Supreme
Makes 12-16 servings

For the shell:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 stick tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (VOE - 1/2 recipe for bottom crust, only)

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups pumpking puree
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the topping:
2 cups sour cream combined with
1 tablespoon sugar &
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted lightly

Make the shell: In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter until the mixture resembles meal, press the mixture onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of a buttered 9-inch springform pan, 3 inches deep. Chill shell for one hour.

Make the filling: In a  large bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is smooth, beat in the granulated sugar and the light brown sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, add the pumpkin puree, the cinnamon, the nutmeg , and the cream, and beat the filling until it is combined well.

Pour the filling into the springform pan and bake the cheesecake in the middle of a preheated moderately slow oven (325 degrees F.) for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

Add the topping: Spread the sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake in the moderately slow oven for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on the rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the sides of the pan, transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate, and garnish it with the pecans.