My friends are still raving about this Pumpkin Cheesecake. The taste is amazing – part cheesecake, part pumpkin pie. Love 'em both.
Process Graham Crackers into Crumbs
Mix with Salted Butter, Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon and Press In Pan
Beat the Softened Cream Cheese
Mix Remaining Ingredients and Pour Into Crust
This is a Paula Deen recipe, however, she or the Food Newtwork decided to be lazy and not give any tips on how to make this recipe successful – just the basics. Therefore mine came out with a huge crack down the middle.
Exhibit #1: Cavernous Crack
I have used a water bath before to bake a pumpkin pie, but since this recipe didn't call for one, I wanted to go by the directions.
We Need to Use a Water Bath Folks
How to Bake in a Water Bath
Before you pour your batter in the springform pan, take a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom of the pan (plus 3-4 inches extra) and place the pan on it. Bring the extra foil up the sides so that you are protecting the seam from getting water in the pan. Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan or similar, and fill with hot water to about halfway up the springform pan.
Why a Water Bath?
Cheesecake is a custard at heart. It's delicate, so you want to bake it slowly and evenly without browning the top.
The most effective way to do this is to bake it in a water bath. Since water evaporates at the boiling point, the water bath will never get hotter than 212 degrees F (100 degrees C), no matter what the oven temperature. This means that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to soufflé, sink, and crack.
It's common to overbake cheesecakes because, while they might look underdone, they are actually done when the center is still wobbly. At this stage, residual heat will "carry over" and the center will continue to cook.
Remove cheesecake from the oven to cool on a rack, or simply leave the door of the oven closed, turn off the heat and let the cheesecake cool for at least an hour. This helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking in the center.
After chilling, the once-wiggly center should firm up just fine.
Eating cheesecake is a very sensual experience: texture is everything. Some recipes contain a small amount of starch, such as flour or cornstarch. These cheesecakes have a more cake-like texture. Cheesecake recipes that do not contain flour are intended to be luxuriously smooth and dense.
Tips from Allrecipes.com
A crack is caused by two things: 1) a sudden, extreme change in temperature and 2) too much air being whipped into the batter. Fix that with the water bath and keeping the cheesecake in the oven as the oven cools and by beating the batter only enough to combine ingredients. Especially the eggs, which hold the most air in them.
Based on suggestions for how to bake a successful cheesecake with no cracks, next time I will bake it in a water bath at 325o for 1 hour 20 minutes, turn the oven off and let it sit in the warm oven for another 30 minutes, take it out and let it cool, run a butter knife around the inside of the pan to ease the release of the cake, unlock the spring on the pan and let it cool a little more. Regrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. Before putting in the fridge, cut some parchment paper to surround the edge of the cake, put the pan back over it and lock in place. This way you can store it in the pan without it sticking to the edge of the pan. You can also cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil without it touching the cake. If the next day you have some condensation, lightly lay a paper towel on top to absorb the moisture.
The graham cracker crust has a whole stick of butter in it, but the good thing is that it makes a very firm crust that does not crumble easily. Therefore when ready to serve your cake after refrigeration, use a long, wide spatula to slide under the crust and lift carefully to a cake plate. To clean up the scruffy edge of the cake, use a wet, hot knife to smooth the sides.
Compliments of JennaDish
MAKES ONE 9" SPRINGFORM PAN or TWO 9" REGULAR SIZED PIES
Bring cream cheese, eggs, sour cream to room temperature first. Have all ingredients measured and ready before starting. Heat water for water bath so it's ready when needed.
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com – a Paula Deen recipe
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap bottom of springform pan with foil that reaches all the way up the outer sides of pan.
For crust: In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and mix until evenly combined. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Turn off mixer. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat on low speed until just combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place springform pan in roasting pan or jelly roll pan. Pour very hot water in pan, about halfway up springform pan or a little lower. Bake for 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven 20 minutes. Middle will be very jiggly. Remove cheesecake from waterbath and place on wire rack to cool to room temperature about 30 minutes. Place in refrigerator to cool further, about 30 minutes, before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
To remove from pan, run butter knife around edge of cheesecake, release spring and carefully lift pan sides. Serve on pan bottom or run spatula under crust and transfer to cake plate.