My Dear Little Cardamummy asked me to bring pumpkin pies to dinner (yes, plural). I was all set to whip up something special but my body had other plans.
The day I was to bake I awoke with the beginnings of a cold. Little surprise as my life has been busy as of late--between my new client that's a teeny bit of a distance away along with my volunteer responsibilities (oxymoron??) I've been burning the candle at both ends. Long days, late nights and little time to actually take care of myself (or cook...or blog). This isn't a complaint, just a statement of how my life is right now.
Knowing full well food I cook when I'm not feeling at my best rarely turns out well, I succumbed to the bigscarymegamart and picked up a couple of pies. I must admit my heart seized a titch when I saw what their head office decreed as "regular price".. +$8! The "sale" price was $6. Good gravy. Given these are factory pies, frozen and then heated in the bowels of the store, I question the $6 price tag...and do not believe the $8 at all. Alas, I was in a bind and I paid $12 for two rather mediocre pies.
Thanks to Mum's home cooking and a bit of rest, I'm feeling a bit better now.
Needless to say, I wanted to get back into the kitchen and create an autumnal dessert. My mind turned to my original thought of a swirled cheesecake.
Cheesecakes are rather easy to put together and once you master the basics, easily adapted to a myriad of flavours and combinations. This time I decided to created a chai-spiced pumpkin and vanilla swirled cheesecake--something that celebrates the season's bounty and brings a titch of warmth to the cooler night air.
The resulting cheesecake is creamy, mildly spiced and perfect for a gathering. If I were to have served this at dinner, I would have roasted some pear slices tossed in honey, vanilla and cinnamon and served each slice of cake with the warmed fruit with a spoon of Chantilly cream.
Chai-spiced pumpkin & vanilla swirled cheesecake
Yield: 1 20cm (8") cheesecake
For the crust
225g/560ml/2.25c graham wafer crumbs
100ml/0.33c+1Tbsp melted butter
pinch of salt
For the filling
750g/3 bricks cream cheese, at room temperature
250g /1.25c sugar
1tsp/5ml vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3 eggs, at room temperature
100ml (0.33c + 1Tbsp) heavy cream, at room temperature
275g/280ml/1c+2Tbsp pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 cloves, ground
2 pods' worth of cardamom seeds, ground
0.5tsp/2.5ml ground ginger
0.25tsp/1.25ml ground cinnamon
a kettle of boiling water
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Wrap the outside of the springform pan with tinfoil (this will help to minimise leakage--both from the batter leaking out, but also the bain marie's water from seeping in.
For the crust:
Prepare the crust by mixing all its ingredients together and pressing firmly and evenly onto the bottom of the cakepan. Set aside.
For the filling:
Cut the cream cheese into cubes, and cream together with sugar. Blend in eggs, one at a time, scraping well between each addition. Mix in vanilla and cream until well blended.
Reserve about one third of the batter in a jug and set aside.
Add the spices and pumpkin puree into the larger quantity of batter and blend until evenly mixed.
Pour half the pumpkin batter into the prepared cake tin and then pour, in alternate dollops the vanilla and pumpkin batters. With a skewer or handle-end of a teaspoon, swirl the batters together until you've attained the desired visual effect.
Tap the filled tin on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
Place the tin in a roasting pan and pour boiling water in the roasting pan until it reaches approximately half-way up the side of the springform tin.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the outer area of the cheesecake is set and the middle jiggles. Turn off the heat and let the cheesecake sit in the oven, as it cools, for one hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator.
Serve with Chantilly cream, poached or roasted pears, and/or drizzled caramel.
I'm a quill for hire!