…there’s a mouthful ! And what a mouthful this was.
(once again apologies for the dark photo, I snapped this in the early morning before I took off with it for work, and the days here have been far from sunny this week)
On Wednesday this week, I picked up my weekly farm-share package from Wysmykal Farms , and perfect timing for the Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, each package included a lovely pumpkin, and I wasn’t about to let it sit around on the counter waiting to be carved, I’m eating that sucker ! And because I was craving a pumpkin cheesecake and knew my co-workers would enjoy it too, I decided to usher Thanksgiving in a little early and make this treat to share.
The basis for this cake comes from a Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake that I made a couple of years ago from “Cooking by the Seat of Our Pants” blog, and because I didn’t change a whole lot, credit goes to that awesome cake. Seriously, check out the original, it was one of the best pumpkin cheesecakes I’ve ever made. Everyone went nuts for it.
This time, I wanted to do something a little different, so I went with white chocolate instead of bittersweet, pecans instead of walnuts, and switched the cookies out for vanilla. I also decided to give the caramel sauce a little extra oomph by adding Spicebox Whisky. Here is the resulting recipe:
1 1/2 cups crumbs from Peak Freans Vanilla Bean Latte cookies (you can substitute vanilla cookies of any type if you can’t find these, but they did add the perfect flavor to the cake)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (I made my own with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice)
1 ¾ cups pureed pumpkin (I used fresh roasted pumpkin, but you can substitute canned)
4 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup golden cane sugar
100 grams chopped pecans
4 ounces white chocolate
1 cup caramel whisky sauce from:
· 2 cups sugar
· 1/2 cup water
· 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
· 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
· 2 tsp. lemon juice
· 3 tbsp. salted butter
· 1.5 tbsp Spicebox whisky or alternative
If starting with a fresh pumpkin, set oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and scrape out seeds and connecting fibrous ‘stuff’ from inside the pumpkin. Place pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet and add a little water. Set in oven for about an hour, or until tender (this will depend on the size of your pumpkin). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees if you are proceeding right to cake prep.
In the meantime, make the caramel sauce by mixing the 2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow this to simmer for 20 minutes without stirring, or until golden. Swirl the pan from time to time. Remove from heat and stir in cream, scrape in contents of vanilla bean, and then remaining ingredients. Place in sealed container along with scraped vanilla pods until ready to use.
To make crust, combine cookie crumbs with butter and press this mixture into a greased 9 inch springform pan, covering bottom and about one inch up the sides. Cover outside of pan with heavy duty tinfoil (this contains any butter leakage) Set aside.
Take 1 3/4 cups of the roasted pumpkin (or a 15 ounce can of ready made) and add 1/4 cup of flour and pumpkin pie spice. I then blitzed that mixture with my stick blender to make it nice and smooth.
In stand mixer, blend together the four packages of cream cheese with brown sugar and golden cane sugar until fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl at least once. Finally, add the prepared pumpkin mixture and mix until fully blended. Pour this mixture on top of prepared crust.
Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until centre of cake no longer jiggles when moved. Turn oven heat off and leave cake in oven with door ajar for about 30 minutes. Remove cake in pan to cake rack for additional 30 minutes, then place in refrigerator (I left it in overnight).
When ready to serve, run a knife around inside edge of springform pan, release sides, and use a cake spatula to dislodge cake from springform bottom and transfer to serving platter.
Cover top of cake with chopped pecans. Drizzle top of cake with the caramel mixture.
In microwave or in a double boiler, melt 4 ounces of white chocolate. Drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the cake. Cut and serve, passing extra caramel sauce and whipped cream if desired.
I’d also advise moving fast if you want a piece yourself…this didn’t last long !
Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂