Friday, November 23, 2007

Larger Than Life Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

I couldn't imagine a better excuse than a holiday to try another one of the amazing desserts from my Pastry Queen Cookbook. This cheesecake was really delicious. Unlike other pumpkin cheesecakes I have had this had a very strong pumpkin spice flavor to it. The praline topping was so delicious. It would be great on many other things. Overall, another hit from my favorite cookbook.

"This is a big, gorgeous cheesecake perfect for the most glamorous holiday feast. The spiced pumpkin-cream filling is topped with a deep brown blanket of praline sauce, and underneath lies a buttery gingersnap crust. Remember to make this dessert in advance. It needs to chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving." Rebecca Rather, from The Pastry Queen

Larger Than Life Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake
Recipe: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Ginger Crust
  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 40 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Filling
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Praline Topping
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Crust: Line bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray or Baker's Joy. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed gingersnaps with the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Filling: Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute,until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs,one at a time, beating on medium-high for 20 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; beat on medium speed about 1 minute,until incorporated.

Pour the filling over the crust. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan and set it on the center rack of the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour, until the filling is set and golden brown on top. Cool the cheesecake on a rack about 30 minutes, then chill for several hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from springform pan and set on a serving dish.

Topping: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.

Stir together brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Boil mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to make sure it does not boil over. Do not stir. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool topping at least 15 minutes before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve. The cheesecake will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Yield:14 to 16 servings

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