Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake
Do you know what I'm thankful for this year? I'm thankful that the holiday health food trend is losing popularity. I watch what I eat (for the most part) all year long. I don't want to eat Weight Watchers crust-less 2 point pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I don't want to eat a low fat, dry, tasteless turkey stuffing. I want flavor. I want the real thing.
This year, I found a Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake with Caramel-Rum sauce. It's far from health food, but I'm making it to take to my friend Laura's house for Thanksgiving. That lessens the chances that I'll be eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next few days. Now, I'm stepping a little out of my comfort zone here, I've never made a real cheesecake. But this just looked too good to pass up.
2c crushed cinnamon Teddy Grahams
1/4c butter, melted
4 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2c white sugar
1c pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/3c packed brown sugar
1/3c light or dark corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cool whip
1 Tbsp rum extract
Preheat the oven to 300˚F, Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix the crust ingredients. Press mixture in bottom and about 1 inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. To minimize cracking, place a shallow, half full, pan of water on the lower oven rack.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and white sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Spoon about three cups of mixture into crust. Spread evenly. To the remaining mixture, add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and cardamom. Mix until smooth. Spoon mixture smoothly into the pan.
Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. The edge of the cheesecake should be set at least 2 inches into the cheesecake, but the center will still be jiggley. Is that a real word? Turn the oven off and open the oven door at least 4 inches. Let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 30 minutes. Then let the pan cool an additional 30minutes before refrigerating. Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 6 hours, but no more than 24 hours.
In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbsp butter to boiling over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in cool whip. Heat to boiling. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the rum extract. Cool until warm.
Just before serving, run small spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to separate from the pan. Carefully remove side of pan. Top individual slices of cheesecake with warm sauce and a dollop of cool whip. Refrigerate remaining cheesecake.
(Cook's preference: The caramel sauce is pretty yummy and it looks really cool when you serve it up, but this cheesecake holds its own. If you want to skip the sauce it's still a spectacular dessert...very rich, would be awesome with coffee...if I drank coffee.)