Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Recipe - Pumpkin Cheesecake

Here in Australia Halloween is nowhere near as big-of-a-deal as it is in other parts of the world, though it does seem to be becoming more of a "thing" each year.  And pumpkin-pie is almost unheard of here ... at least in the way I've seen it in American movies and recipes.  

Anyway, pumpkin and halloween-themed posts are really heating up in blog-land at the moment.  Have you seen them?  And the other day when I was perusing my Facebook feed, the most delicious-looking link popped up for a Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I was hooked with one glance at the cheese-cakey goodness.  We love cheesecake.  But I was a little deflated when I realised it was a recipe with lots of ingredients I'd either never heard of, or just simply aren't available in my local supermarket.  Things like "cool-whip" and "pumpkin-pie spices", and "canned pumpkin".  Yep, we don't have those.  But the thought of pumpkin cheese-cake, and the fact that our last pumpkin from our bumper pumpkin crop was sitting patiently on my counter just waiting to be turned into one got the better of me, and I decided to give it a go.

So, here's my very Aussie, very non-authentic version of a pumpkin cheesecake.  It's SUPER yummy, and we've made it twice already (to share of course).  Oh and pumpkin coupled with ginger ... yummo!  Don't believe me? You'll just have to give it a go yourself!


Ingredients: (Makes 12 individual serves)

Base:
- 1 packet Gingernut biscuits (use 3/4 of the pack for the base, and the rest for the crunchy topping)
- 50g butter
- 2 teaspoons Mixed Spice
- 12 individual serving cups ... we used plastic champagne flutes because we were transporting these to a family lunch, but a glass tumbler would be cute too.

Filling:
- 2 Packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 250g pureed pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons Mixed Spice
- 1 Tablespoon Powdered Gelatin
- 1/2 cup boiling water

Method:

For the base ...

1. If you're using fresh pumpkin like me (I didn't even know that canned pumpkin existed), chop your pumpkin into small chunks and boil in water on the stove until its soft.  Then drain the water and puree using a stick-blender, or mashing thoroughly should work too.  Oh, and a hint ... I weighed the pumpkin after it was pureed.

2.  Break up 3/4 of your Gingernut biscuits (my food processor didn't like me trying to crush them whole), 

 ... then blitz in a food processor until it's consistency of coarse crumbs like this ...  Be sure to save the rest of the pack for later!

3. Add the mixed spice and mix well.

4. Add the melted butter and blitz until well-combined.

This is a fairly dry base mixture.

5.  Spoon the base evenly into 12 serving cups.

For the filling ...
I used my trusty Kitchenaid, but you could totally make this using a bowl and hand whisk if you feel like an arm work-out.

6.  Using the whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese until it's broken up, then pour in the sweetened condensed milk, and whisk until well-combined.  I started slowly (to avoid making too much mess), then when it was combined a bit, sped the mixer up to try getting as smooth-a-consistency as possible.  I hate cheese lumps in my cheesecake!

7. Pour in the pureed pumpkin and mix well with the whisk.

8.  Add the mixed spice and whisk well.

9.  Tasting is definitely a VERY important step ... it's so yummy at this stage!

10. Dissolve your gelatin in the boiling water by mixing them together in a small bowl until all the gelatin lumps are gone.  Then let the gelatin mix cool for approximately 5 minutes.  Once slightly cooled, pour into cheesecake filling, and whisk again until well-combined.  It will be a runnier consistency now, but don't worry ... it sets beautifully!

11.  Pour the filling evenly into each of the serving cups.  Then refrigerate for approximately 3-4 hours before serving (I made mine the night before!)

12.  To add a bit more texture (and gingery-ness), I blitzed the remaining 1/4 pack of gingernuts and sprinkled this as a crumb over the top of the cheese-cake.  

An there you have it ... Pumpkin Cheesecake.  A perfect dessert, super tasty, and Bethany is convinced it's healthy "'cause it has pumpkin in it" ... of course she's right ... isn't she?


And all that's left is to dig in and have a heaping big spoonful.  Enjoy!!

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