Monday, December 7, 2009

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake

When I first decided to try out this cheesecake, about five years ago, Grant was very dubious.
"It's not chocolate", he complained. "It won't be any good."
After his first bite, he changed his mind.
This is now one of his favorite desserts.

Around that time, we were invited to some friends' home for dinner. I offered to bring dessert, and took this. Unbeknownst to me, we weren't the only people invited....there was another couple we had never met there. And the dinner wasn't just an ordinary dinner, it was an incredible six-course meal that lasted over two hours (in which I had my first experience eating rabbit and lamb, I might add). During dinner conversation, it was revealed that the husband of the other visiting couple had been a chef - in fancy schmancy restaurants - for over ten years in his past.

Geez. And he was going to be eating my cheesecake.

When dessert was served, I tried not to be nervous as everyone dug in.

Mr. Ex-Chef savored his first bite and proclaimed, "It doesn't get any better than this!"

I will never forget that.

Some of the measurements may seem a bit weird....that's because I increased the filling from the original recipe by 1/2 and some of the amounts were difficult to accurately measure.

I'll try to post my recipe for sugared pecans soon....they're awesome!

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (use your blender!)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 heaping cup white sugar, divided
1-1/2 t. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
caramel ice-cream topping (optional)
sugared pecans (optional)
sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture. Blend heaping 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.

Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Serve with fresh whipped cream, caramel topping, and sugared pecans if desired.

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