Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Compromise

“It should either be a pumpkin pie or a cheesecake.  Just not together!

That was Mr. Rosemary’s response when I told him what I was making for his sister’s birthday.
“You made this before, didn’t you?” he asked.

I nodded demurely.

“And I didn’t like it then, did I?”

“Well,” said I.  “You didn’t rave about it.  But you ate it,” I quietly reasoned.  And, after all, it wasn’t his birthday.  (I didn’t say that last part out loud.)

“Hmmph.” he said. I took that as a concession and proceeded on my merry way in the kitchen.
The next day as he saw me unmolding the cheesecake from its springform confines, he wanted to know if I was happy with the way it turned out.
I wasn’t sure how to answer because I didn’t know yet. I daringly mixed up two different recipes, because I liked pieces of each.    The cheesecake looked good, but you (or at least, I, unconfident baker that I am) never know until you cut into a cake, even a cheesecake.  I feared it was going to be a bit dry.  Over baking (or is it under baking?) is my biggest baking sin.

So, just for insurance, I was ready with my secret weapon – a jar of caramel ice cream topping in the pantry.  I’d drizzle that on top of the cake in a spider web fashion and it would look moist and pretty and  the eye would fool the discerning tasters.

I needn’t have worried.  It wasn’t dry. It was very good.  Very, very good.  So, next time, I’ll make my own caramel sauce.

As for Mr. Rosemary’s verdict?  Since there were two cakes for the crowd that celebrated Liz’s birthday, he opted for the chocolate-mint cake.  When he heard other people comment on my cheesecake, though, he said, “Okay, I’ll try a piece.”

“Hmmm,” he said, as his face crinkled in that way I know means he likes it.  “This is really good.” --  like he didn’t believe everyone else until he tasted it himself. 

I’d call that a win, wouldn’t you?

Blending two recipes – plus winging it a little – works sometimes.  And sometimes it doesn’t,  I got lucky and have me a keeper.

My marriage of the recipes was a compromise, just like any marriage.  One called for an 8-inch pan; I only have a 10-inch springform pan.  One said bake longer at 350.  The other said to bake at 325 lower but keep in the turned off oven.  One asked for 3 eggs, one for 4. I wrote down what I did as I was doing it so, here it is . . . . . 

 Pumpkin Cheesecake
An adaptation based on combining recipes from Joy of Baking and Peter Christian’s Recipes

Serves 10-16 people, depending on how fat you cut your slices!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup crushed ginger snap cookies (about 10)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter

For Filling:
! ½ pounds cream cheese (3 8-ounce bricks), softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ginger
4 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup melted and cooled butter

For Topping:
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare graham cracker crust and pat into a 10 inch springform pan.  Bake in oven 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool while getting the filling ready.

In mixing bowl cream well and mix on high speed the cream cheese brown sugar maple syrup and vanilla on high speed.  Then add and mix well the pumpkin, flour and spices, scraping often and incorporating all lumps. 

Then add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Finally add the butter.  Spread filling in pan.  Place an empty cake pan half filled with water on the bottom rack of oven.  (This helps add moisture to the baking process.)

Bake for 40 minutes.  Meanwhile make topping by blending the sour cream, vanilla and sugar.   Remove cake from oven and spread with the sour cream mixture.  Return to oven and turn the oven off.  Leave cake there with door closed for another 40 minutes.  Remove from oven to rack and cool.  When cooled completely, refrigerate overnight or at least 4 to 6 hours.


  1. Oh, Rosemary, let me be the first to tell you how absolutely delicious this looks. And pumpkin and cheesecake together? That is combining the best of two already wonderful things!!

  2. Love this story - yes, win-win. And love the looks of this fall cheesecake - and your autumn!

  3. Great post. Cheesecake looks wonderful.

  4. What a great post; you must be really confident with your baking skills. I am saving this one for sure.

  5. I so want to tuck into this seasonal cheesecake. It really does look luscious!

  6. Oh I love fall and pumpkins and warm spices. I would love this compromise cake with all those elements! Sounds like a winning combination - very creative! And beautiful!

  7. WOW!! The cheese cake looks sensational! Really love its rich flavour and smooth texture. Well done!

  8. Lovely color of the cheesecake.. Just had a pumpkin muffin! Would love to try ur recipe. First time here. You have a nice space.

  9. I love everything pumpkin! :) This cheesecake looks so good and creamy!

  10. Hi again! Just in case . . . wheat berries can be found at the grocery store with the rice, quinoa, grains and in a market with a bulk section. Have a great weekend!

  11. What a lovely post! I frequently mash a couple of recipes together...but I've never tried it with cheesecakes! I make this one cheesecake that everyone in the family loves...and frequently over bake and crack the top...but we don't' care - we love it!

  12. I'd call that a victory! My hubby loves pumpkin pie and doesn't mind cheesecake, but he wouldn't eat pumpkin cheesecake. I would, though...especially with caramel sauce!

  13. Rosemary-you are certainly ready for fall, and for the Thanksgiving holidays. Your amazing pumpkins cheesecake is a "masterpiece" of perfection. I've been trying to find a good recipe for pumpkin cheesecake for a long time, and each year I just settle for pumpkin pie...well, this year I will try your recipe for the holidays.
    Beautiful presentation as well, with the yummy caramel sauce:DDD

  14. i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  15. I'd kill for it. :P

  16. This is exactly what I needed as I am in charge of pies for Thanksgiving!! :))

  17. This sounds wonderful - perfect for this time of year.

  18. This is an excellent choice to grace the Thanksgiving table! The picture is really winning me over-stunning. Yum!

  19. that looks wonderful. i have been looking for a cheesecake to make myself for my upcoming birthday and think this might be the one.

    one question though - what size can of pumkin?

  20. Back in the day I was never a huge fan of pimpkin pie so I discovered cheesecake. I love your twists here Rosemary. I so wish I could serve myself up a piece.

  21. @Anonymous -- I just used 1 cup from a smaller (15 ounce, I think) can of pumpkin puree. I mixed the rest with a little softened butter and sugar and spread it on my new "thin" bagel.

  22. It looks delicious ... and I'm so glad he agreed!

  23. This looks amazing.. all my favorite ingredients in one delicious dessert! What's not to like?
    Thanks for posting this.. I think I know what I'll be making for dessert this weekend.

  24. I have a huge crush on this pumpkin cheesecake! I'm glad the hubby ending up liking it, too!

  25. The pumpkin gives such a nice color to the cheese cake. I am sure your hubby enjoyed it very much. Enjoyed reading your story too.

  26. Looks delish! I would definitely LOVE this dessert! Two of my favs!

  27. This looks like a really lovely cheesecake - I've been trying to make one - but I have to say - your's looks perfection!!
    Mary x

  28. Rosemary, this is the way in which great recipes appear. If we don't try strange combinations, how can we find out how good they are? Good job! And I will try it too :)

  29. WOW this looks absolutely incredible! What a great pumpkin recipe, yummy! :)

  30. Boys are so silly! Mine is the same way :) I think this sounds lovely! Great flavor mash up :)

  31. I would call it a win! This looks so good...and I'm so glad that my arm is better and I can visit and comment again! Thank you for being such an inspiration. Your words, recipes and photos...yum, yum, yum! Blessings from Austin

  32. This looks really delicious. Even the color is great. It's no wonder that your husband was pleased. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  33. Holy yum! I need to bake this! Looks absolutely divine!

  34. That sounds delicious. I'd definitely call that a win. Mr. Rosemary sounds an awful lot like my Carl.

  35. Definitely a win! this sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for linking up at my Thanksgiving blog hop!


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