Lionheart Wines
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Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves: 12 pieces


5 oz. graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cups (10 1/3 oz) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 lb cream cheese, cut into 1” chunks and left to soften at room temperature (30 min)
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
3 large eggs, left at room temperature, about 30 minutes


To make the crust:

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Spray bottom and sides of 9” spring form pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about 15 2 second pulses.  Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened.  Turn crumbs into prepared spring form pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer.  Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. 
  • Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. 
  • Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the filling:

  • Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot.
  • Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
  • Do the following to remove excess moister from pumpkin:
    1. Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels.  Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer.
    2. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until  paper towels are saturated. 
    3. Peel back top layer of towels and discard.
    4. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels.  Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towels.
  • Blend the sour cream, sugar mixture, eggs, and vanilla in a food blender for 1 minutes.  Add the cream cheese in small batches.  Blend until smooth.  Add pumpkin and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth.  Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter through the top of the machine.  Pour into the spring-form pan. 
  • Bake in the lower third off a 325 degree oven.  Set spring form pan with cooled crust on 18” square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped pan in roasting pan.  Pour filling into spring form pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about half-way up side of spring form pan.
  • Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 ½ hours. 
  • Run paring knife around cake to loosen; remove sides of pan.  Set roasting pan on wire rack and cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes.  Remove spring form pan from water bath, discard foil, and put back under broiler until crush is a golden brown.
  • Set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. 
  • Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

To Serve:
Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter.  Let cheese cake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream
Makes about 3 cups


1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bourbon

1. In bowl of standing mixer, whisk heavy cream, sour cream, brown sugar, and salt until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve cheesecake, at least 4 hours or up to 24, stirring once or twice during chilling to ensure that sugar dissolves.

2. When ready to serve cheesecake, add bourbon and beat mixture with whisk attachment at medium speed until small bubbles form around edges, about 40 seconds; increase speed to high and continue to beat until fluffy and doubled in volume, about 1 minute longer.  Spoon cream on individual slices of cheesecake.

Cook’s Illustrated, Nov/Dec 2003, Pg. 22
The Frugal Gourmet, Pg. 348-349

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