pumpkin brandy cheesecake
I love pumpkin pie, but I get tired of it quickly. I wanted something else to make, and after having Smitten Kitchen's pumpkin bourbon bread pudding, I simply couldn't pass up the pumpkin bourbon cheesecake. Except I was out of bourbon (ooops). I substituted brandy (and roughly doubled the quantity) and the cheesecake was to die for. Confession: I don't even like cheesecake, and I ate this up.
The pecans in the crust make the whole cheesecake, I think. They turn all buttery and taste a bit of alcohol (perhaps that's all the brandy i poured in...) and are absolutely amazing. I'd eat the crust on its own. I suppose you could substitute other nuts it you so chose, but I really can't imagine why you would. These are the best.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Gourmet, November 2003
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 oz), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional) (I used brandy, and at least doubled it)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sour cream (20 oz)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
Garnish: pecan halves
Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan. (This didn't work for me, so I used the springform as usual).
Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350Ã‚Â°F.
Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.
Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
Epicurious’ note: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.
Makes 12 to 14 servings.