Saturday, November 29, 2008

Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

My husband has been asking me to make a pumpkin cheesecake for about 3 years now, finally I got around to making one for Thanksgiving. The recipe is likely from a magazine. I have long since forgotten where I found it and did not make a note of its origin. The recipe is written on an index card in gold ink which has been jammed in my recipe box. I must have been feeling fancy or something using that gold glittery ink. This is a very easy cheesecake to make and is well worth it. The cheesecake was a big hit, really, are cheesecakes ever not an exciting dessert?

The original recipe called for 5 EGGS! Hot diggity high cholesterol insanity. Clearly this recipe was in need of some help. Sure it's light on fat but heavy on cholesterol. The tragic fate of desserts is you end up in this sort of trade. Cheesecake making was where I developed a passion for cooking and this was a recipe that needed altering. In my years experience of cooking cheesecake, I know that 5 EGGS are a lot, even if you use full fat cream cheese. Instead of using 5 eggs I used only four, but know that 3 is plenty. In the past I have used SmartBalance instead of butter with excellent results so I'm sure that would be an option if apple jelly is not in your pantry. I hardly ever use graham crackers for crumbs, preferring cereal instead. I used Barbara's Puffins cinnamon cereal for the crust. The cereal makes for a nice crunchy cinnamon base with a lower calorie content compared to graham crackers it was a better option. I have a pre-processed box of that cereal in my pantry for my dessert crumbs. The cinnamon flavor really complimented this recipe. The key ingredient that you MUST use or else the flavor will be lacking is the brandy. The brandy is what gives the cheesecake an amazing richness that makes this dessert delightful. I'm glad to share this amended recipe with you, perhaps you too will make this a part of your Thanksgiving food tradition.

Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Barbara's Puffins cinnamon cereal crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons apple jelly (or butter if you like, up to you)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a nine inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Using 2 tablespoons of the crumbs coat the sides of the pan by rolling the crumbs around the sides. Leave any remaining crumbs in pan. In a medium bowl combine apple jelly (warming it slightly helps with incorporating) with the crumbs. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely before adding filling.

Filling:
4 (8 ounce) packages of fat free cream cheese
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour*
2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons brandy
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, blend in the sugars. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well. In a separate bowl mix the flour, spice, brandy and pumpkin. Gradually add the pumpkin mixture to the cream cheese. Beat well. Pour filling over crust. (Tip: keeping the pan on a cookie sheet makes for an easier way to maintain the levelness of the cheesecake.) Place cheesecake in oven and bake at 350 °F for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let cheesecake rest inside for 30 minutes with oven door open about 4 inches. Remove from oven and loosen cheesecake from sides with a knife. Chill 2 hours.

I have a gas oven and found that an hour and 20 minutes was far too much. I should have baked it for an hour. If you want a perfectly formed cheesecake I suggest checking on it after an hour regardless of your oven type. If the center looks a little wobbly then add 10 more minutes until it appears to firm up, remember it will rest in the oven and cook a bit more so slightly wobbly is what you want, no cracks is the goal. If you end up with cracks don't fret, they won't affect the taste much or at least it didn't seem to be a problem for us on Thanksgiving. If it really bothers you because you had big plans for a fab presentation just top it with a little whipped cream or creme fraiche and no one will notice the imperfections. Because cheesecake, perfect or not it is still awesome.



*High altitude add 1 more tablespoon of flour and bake 1 hour 15 to 1 hour 25 minutes.

1 comment :

Carolyn said...

All of these recipes are making my mouth water.