Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple-Pecan Shortbread Crust

If you haven't quite decided what you're making for Thanksgiving dessert yet,
 you might consider this....

Its every bit as delicious, festive, and rich as it sounds.
And bonus, its best made the day before you want to serve,
so plan ahead and have one less worry for the big day.

And don't be intimidated by the cheesecake factor,
it really is quite simple to make and worth every second.

Oh, and its big. REALLY big. And did I mention rich?
So if you have a lot of mouths to feed, it will go a long way.
Want the recipe?
For the filling I adapted this recipe from The Hungry Mouse
and then I made my own crust. Here's what I did...
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple-Pecan Shortbread Crust
1 c. flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 slightly-beaten egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 15-oz. can 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
24 oz. cream cheese (3 8-oz. bricks), at room temperature
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare crust: Combine the flour, powdered sugar and pecans in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, add the egg yolk and maple syrup, mix well. Pat about 1/3 of the dough on the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan. Bake at 400 for about 8 minutes or until the crust starts to appear golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool. Now, butter the sides of the pan. Starting at the bottom, pat the remaining dough on to the sides of the pan. It should go up about 2 inches.
Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
Prepare Filling: Beat cream cheese til softened. Add brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing beween each. Add pumpkin and maple syrup. Beat to combine. Add flour and pumpkin pie spice. Beat gently to combine.
Poor filling into crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cheesecake will look set when done, but the middle will still wiggle when you move the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then put in the fridge 6 hours or overnight. (This is important!! Chilling is what makes the cake set. If you don't allow the cake to chill long enough it will be mushie!)
Serve with whipped cream if desired (its good either way). Enjoy!
* I used a 9" pan, but you could easily use a 10" pan or two smaller ones. Just make sure to adjust your baking time. You may need to bake for a little shorter time if it isn't as thick/tall. *

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