Recipe by Sarah Phillips and Kelly Hong; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 9-29-2014 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Luscious and beautifully creamy, this striped cheesecake combines the flavors of pumpkin and chocolate. A treat for the eyes, and the tummy! Perfect for Thanksgiving or any Autumn celebration. You can also serve this with Salted Caramel Sauce on the side for an extra taste-treat and to help sweeten the cheesecake dessert a bit more, since it is a little on the less-sweet side.
CHEESECAKE RECIPE HELP
I like to bake my cheesecakes in a 9-inch cake pan. But, for those who like to use a springform pan, a 9- or 10-inch size is fine. To prevent water leaking in from the waterbath, what I like to do is sit the filled cheesecake pan in the bottom of a 15 x 17-inch Reynolds Hot (ovenproof) Foil Bag, used to bake foods in, in a larger pan used for the waterbath. Gather the bag around the sides of the pan. It shouldn't be closed over the top of the cake. The bag is shaped like a lunch bag. The water won't leak in because the bag is sealed on all sides except for an opening in the top.) Then, fill the waterbath pan with hot water.
If you do not have a foil bag, use a wide sheet of heavy duty foil.
1 1/4 cups finely ground chocolate graham cracker crumbs; grind crackers and then measure
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; measure butter and then melt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg; use 1/2 teaspoon if freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground mace (optional)
2 pounds (four 8 ounce packages) cream cheese; preferably Philadelphia brand
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 15 ounce can (1 3/4 cups) solid pack pumpkin; preferably Libby's brand - do not use pumpkin pie filling
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Whipped Cream, optional
NOTE: I like to grind the graham crackers in the food processor fitted with a steel blade until they become fine crumbs.
STEP I: MAKE THE CHEESECAKE CRUST AND BATTER. SEPARATE THE CHEESECAKE BATTER INTO TWO EQUAL PORTIONS.
1. Position an oven rack in the middle. Place a larger pan, to be used as a waterbath, on the shelf and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
SARAH SAYS: For a waterbath, place the cheesecake in a baking pan about 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep and wide enough so there is at least an inch of room around the cheesecake.
2. Liberally spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch by 2-inch heavy cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Optionally line with parchment paper and spray, again.
SARAH SAYS: You can use a 9- or 10-inch springform pan instead of a heavy cake pan.
3. Mix the crumbs, sugar and nuts in a the cheesecake pan. Slowly pour the melted butter over the crumb mixture and stir until it begins to hold together when you squeeze some between your fingertips.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the buttered pan. For this cheesecake, we do not press the crumbs up the sides of the pan, so the tiger-striped pattern can be visible on the sides of the cake.
Tap down with the bottom and sides with a metal measuring cup.
Set aside in the refrigerator and prepare the filling.
SARAH SAYS: Instead of dirtying an extra bowl, I simply mix the crust in the bottom of the cheesecake pan.
Make the cheeecake batter:
1. Melt 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler, or a microwave, then set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and optionally, the mace. Set aside
3. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low, until smooth. Scrape the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add the sugars, and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl.
SARAH SAYS: Do not beat the cream cheese block and the sugar together; wait until the cream cheese has been softened first and then add in the sugar. You will inadvertently beat air into the mixture possibly causing the cheesecake to rise and then fall in the oven, and then develop cracks.
4. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin puree, and the cinnamon spice mixture.
5. With the mixer on low, add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until completely mixed after each one. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl.
6. Give the mixture two good folds with a large rubber spatula and scrape and fold in any unblended ingredients. If the batter has any tiny lumps, it's ok.
Tap the bowl's bottom on the countertop about six times to get rid of any large air bubbles.
Separate the cheesecake batter into two equal portions:
1. You should have about 4 cups in each bowl.
2. Fold the melted and cooled chocolate into one of the bowls, until it is evenly distributed.
STEP II: STRIPE THE PUMPKIN AND CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE BATTERS ON THE CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST.
1. To start the striped pattern, add about 2/3 cup of the Pumpkin Cheesecake batter directly in the center of the pan on top of the crust.
Then follow with 2/3 cup of the other Chocolate Cheesecake batter.
Continue to add alternating batters, making sure that you add it right in the center of the pan.
As you add batter, the weight of the batter will spread the prior layers, which creates the striped effect.
As you go, you can give the pan a little shake, to settle the batter, but do not be too aggressive, or you may upset the pattern.
2. When you have added all the batter, give the cheesecake a little tap on the counter to help level the batter.
Afterwards, your cheesecake batter should look like this.
3. Place the pan with the cheesecake mixture into the larger pan set in the oven. Use a pitcher and fill with the larger one with hot water, halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
4. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes under a watchful eye.
It will be done when the cake is firm on its edges while the center jiggles as one solid piece (like firm Jell-O) when the side of the pan is tapped with the end of a long wooden spoon.
When done, remove the cake from the oven, and carefully from the water bath. Leave the water bath in the oven so it can cool in a turned off oven. Remove later.
Set cake on a wire cake rack for 1 to 2 hours to cool. The cake will come from the oven slightly puffed and will fall back down and flatten as it cools.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill it for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours before unmolding to serve or freeze.
How to unmolding the cheesecake from a solid cake pan: When you are ready to remove the cake from the solid cake pan, make sure it has been refrigerated for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours. Then have ready....the plate or cardboard that the cake will be on for serving, and a cardboard or plate covered with plastic wrap. Heat the bottom of the pan on a low burner on your stove while turning. You don't want to cook it, just heat enough to melt the butter on the bottom of the pan. Place the plastic covered plate on top of the cake and turn over, tap firmly on your counter at an angle. You may have to re-heat the bottom, if it didn't get hot enough. As you tap, you will feel when the vacuum is broken. Immediately turn out onto the plastic covered plate (it will be up-side-down) and then turn right-side-up onto the serving plate.
When completely cooled, decorate with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.
Cheesecakes must be kept refrigerated where they will keep for 3 days or more. They freeze beautifully unless topped with sour or whipped cream. Make sure you allow them time to set in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours after baking and before freezing. You can freeze the cake in its pan or unmold and then freeze. If you unmold, freeze until solid before wrapping. It will keep for about 2 months or more frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator.