Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

After I got back from San Francisco, I asked the friend who watch my cat what she'd like me to bake for her. I expected a request for brownies or grapefruit yogurt cake, but instead, she wanted pumpkin pie. I was stumped, having never made pumpkin pie and not even remembering if I liked pumpkin pie. I checked Smitten Kitchen and sure enough found pumpkin brownies and ... bourbon pumpkin cheesecake. Of course, these ideas distracted me. I pushed aside the idea of bourbon pumpkin cheesecake, not wanting to buy a bottle of bourbon just to make a dessert (there were also the naysayers who didn't seem to sure it would even taste okay). Then I was offered the remnants of a bottle of Jack Daniels ... that works and there go my excuses. The end result was delicious ... lighter than your typical cheesecake.

The original recipe includes a graham cracker and pecan crust that looks amazing. I skipped on it because it seemed like just a little too much for everything I was cooking that day and I only have one springform pan and it was spoken for. With the pre-made crust, this came together remarkably easily. Because I was using a pre-made crust though, the filling didn't all fit, so I put the excess in two smaller ramekins ... one for me the next day and one for the cat-care giver who prompted this recipe! I'm glad I did because only a small sliver of pie was left over!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake (from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Gourmet)

1 9" graham cracker pie crust (or make your own using the link above)
For filling (see notes above about filling amount)
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
2 tablespoons bourbon liqueur or bourbon (doubled from the original, the flavour was still subtle)
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 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature (roughly 3 250g packages less 1/4 cup)
For topping
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon
Garnish: pecan halves

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur in a bowl until combined.
3. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
4. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
5. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
6. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top. Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes (leave oven on).
7. Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.
8. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
9. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours.

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