Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sauce and Sauteed Apples

This year for Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a bourbon sauce and sauteed apples. I used a food processor and had great results. You'll need one with a large capacity. Mine is 11 cups, and the ingredients just barely fit as you can see from the photos below. I will definitely use a food processor for cheesecake again because this method allows very little air to get into the mixture which is important for minimizing a cracked surface.

I poured the mixture into an 8 inch springform resulting in a cheesecake which was about one and a half inches tall. A 7 inch springform would definitely give you a taller looking cheesecake, and that's the size I would probably use the next time I make this. I also baked the cheesecake at a slightly higher temperature than I usually do as I was in a bit of a hurry. The surface wasn't perfectly smooth, but all in all it turned out rather well.

pumpkin cheesecake
2 8oz pkgs neufchatel or cream cheese (not the whipped kind), room temperature
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, to taste
3 tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, room temperature

Prepare a 7 inch or 8 inch springform by lightly coating the inner bottom and sides with butter. Cut out a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. (You can easily make a circle by placing the paper over the outer bottom portion of the pan and lightly cutting it along the groove of the springform with a sharp knife.) Place the parchment circle over the greased (inner) bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Place the the neufchatel cheese, pumpkin, sour cream, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, into the bowl of a food processor with at least an 11 cup capacity. Pulse several times until everything is evenly combined.

Scrape down the sides and add all of the eggs. Pulse just enough until they are combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form. *Bake for 1 hr and 20 min. Turn off the heat and allow the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven; about 2 hours. Don't open the oven.

*I baked this is in a Breville counter-top convection oven. Using a conventional oven instead, might affect the baking and cooling times somewhat. After the baking time is up, I would probably prop the oven door open (on a conventional oven) a tiny bit with a wooden spoon while the cheesecake is cooling in the oven.

Cool the cheesecake further by refrigerating at least another 2 hours.

bourbon sauce, adapted from Simply Recipes/ makes about 1 cup
1/4 cup butter,(1/2 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup *apple juice
1/4 cup *bourbon

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, then whisk in the sugar and egg. Continue cooking over low heat, whisking the mixture constantly until it thickens. Be careful not to allow the mixture to even simmer; you just want it hot enough to thicken. Whisk in the apple juice and bourbon and heat until bubbles begin forming around the sides. Do not bring to a simmer as it might curdle.

*The alcohol never really gets a chance to evaporate because the bourbon is added towards the end and just heated through. The resulting sauce is strongly bourbon flavoured using just 1/4 cup bourbon. Adjust the juice and bourbon ratio to your liking, if you prefer less or more bourbon. The sauce will be fine as long as you add 1/2 cup (total) liquid.

Remove from heat, strain through a sieve and cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

sauteed apples
2 tbsp butter
3 firm organic apples, washed, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch wedges. Do not peel.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and fry until they are golden brown.

Remove from heat. You can serve these either warm or at room temperature.

to serve
Serve each slice of cheesecake with a few apple slices and a tablespoon or two of bourbon sauce.

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