Pumpkin is quite controversial. You either love it or hate it. There is no in-between. Well, if you hate pumpkin, then you’ll want to hide under a rock for the next few months. Why? Because, it’s pumpkin season, that’s why! Luckily for me, I love pumpkin. Funny thing is, I used to hate it. True story. It wasn’t until I tried a pumpkin pie while in culinary school that I fell in love with it. I’ve been a convert ever since. If you’re a pumpkin lover AND a cheesecake lover like me, then you’ll definitely want to try this delicious pumpkin swirl cheesecake. It not only looks beautiful, but the taste is OH MY GOD, out of this world. It’s like taking a big bite of Fall. What more can you ask for?
Combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until the crumbs resemble wet sand and it clumps together in your hands when pressed together. Set aside.
Okay, I know you’re going to hate me for this, but you’ll have to trust me when I say this. Ditch the springform pan. It’s really not necessary. I’ve worked in professional kitchens as a pastry chef in hotels, bakeries and restaurants. Nowhere in any of those kitchens, did I see someone use a springform pan to bake their cheesecakes in. They all had something in common. There was no fancy pan. They all used the trusty old cake pan. That’s right…if you have a cake pan, you can make a cheesecake. In my case, I’m using an 8″ pan, because I’m feeding myself. You also have the option to use a 10″ cake pan which will give you a little bit more room for the batter. Anyway, trust me if you prep a cake pan the right way, you’ll get great results. Prepare the cake pan by brushing on the pan grease in a light coating on the bottom and sides. Cover the bottom with a parchment circle and brush the pan grease on top of the parchment circle. Set to the side.
Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Begin to flatten the crust with your hands and then use the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly flatten the crust. Make sure you get the edges. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Set aside and let it cool at room temp.
Begin to smooth the softened cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until smooth.
Stop the mixer and scrape. It’s important to scrape the bowl and paddle thoroughly throughout this process. We want ensure we get no lumps in the batter. It’s also important you don’t turn the mixer on above medium low through the process. Also, be aware not to over-mix. The last thing we want to do is incorporate air. Add in the sugar in a steady stream. Mix for a couple minutes on medium low speed. Stop mixer. Scrape really well.
Add in the salt and lemon zest and mix until incorporated. Scrape. Add in the sour cream and mix well for about a minute or so. Stop mixer and scrape well. Add in the lemon juice, mix well for about a minute. Stop the mixer. Scrape well.
Combine the eggs and vanilla. Add the eggs/vanilla mixture into the batter in four stages. Allow the eggs to thoroughly incorporate before adding in the next addition. Stop the mixer. Scrape paddle and bowl really well.
Begin mixing on low speed and add in the heavy cream in a steady stream. Mix to incorporate for about minute or so. Stop mixer and scrape paddle and bowl well.
Pour out 1 1/2 cups of batter into a bowl and set aside. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter in stand mixer all in at once. Mix on low speed for about a minute or so. Stop the mixer and scrape bowl and paddle well.
Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Tap and shake the pan to allow the excess air bubbles to come up.
Use a small measuring cup, I use a 1/4 cup measure cup, to pour small amounts of regular cheesecake batter in random patterns over the pumpkin cheesecake batter. Use an offset spatula or knife to swirl. I do an up-down, across and up-down pattern. It creates a wonderful marble look. Tap and shake to remove excess air. Prepare a water bath. The easiest way is to place a large pan with water into the oven. Alternatively, you can place a pan in the oven and pour boiling water into it. The water should come up a 1/4 of the way up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake at 350°F for a half-hour, turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cook for another 5-10 minutes. It’s important to not overcook it. The outer 2″edges should be firmly set. The middle should be jiggly still, but if you touch it with your finger, it shouldn’t be a liquid. Your cheesecake may take more or less than an hour to bake. All ovens run at different temperatures. That’s why the jiggle test is so important. That’s the key to determining doneness.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature. Wrap well with saran wrap and aluminium and place pan in fridge to cool overnight. Make sure saran doesn’t touch the surface of the cheesecake.
The next day, to unmold the cheesecake from the pan, dip the bottom of the pan in boiling hot water and leave there for a minute or so. You can also run the bottom over a flame on the stove. My favorite method is using a blowtorch. It’s a great investment. Trust me. If you’re using a blowtorch, run it all over the sides while turning the pan. Flip the pan over and run it over the bottom of the pan (which should now be the top), constantly moving the flame. Flip it back over and use a cake board covered with parchment and place over the top of the cheesecake. Flip the pan over, the cheesecake should pop right out.
Use another cake board and place on the top (bottom) of the cheesecake. Use it to flip the cheesecake over.
From here, you’re done! It’s beautiful as is. I like to go the extra mile though and decorate it. I just pipped whipped cream rosettes, sprinkled leftover crust crumbs and white chocolate shavings over the top of the whipped cream. The fun thing is you can decorate as you wish. Get creative!
See how I do it:
- 10 oz Gingersnap Cookies
- 1 oz Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- Cheesecake Batter:
- 1.5 lbs (Three 8 oz packages), Softened Cream Cheese
- 6 oz Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
- 5 whole eggs, room temp
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temp
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (puree)
In one bowl, combine all your ingredients for the crust and combine until it resembles wets sand and clumps together when pressed between hands. Set aside.
Prep the 8" or 10" cake pan by brushing some of the pan grease all over the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan. Place a parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and brush the top of the parchment paper with the grease.
Dump the crust ingredients into the pan. Pat the crumbs until they reach the sides and are even across the bottom. Use your hands at first to pat the crumbs down, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to pat the crumbs down evenly across the bottom. Make sure the edges are even as well. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Let it cool after baking. Set aside.
Start by having all your ingredients at room temperature and pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Mix the cream cheese on low for about a couple of minutes, stopping halfway through to scrape bowl and paddle thoroughly. It should be smooth.
Gradually add in the granulated sugar and mix until sugar is blended in, about 2 minutes after adding all the sugar in. Scrape.
Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix until combined on medium low speed for about a minute. Scrape.
Add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Scrape.
Combine the eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Add the eggs/vanilla mixture into the batter in four additions. Let it mix properly before adding the next batch. Scrape well in-between each addition.
Slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add the lemon juice and mix until combined. Scrape.
Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the cheesecake batter. Leave the rest in the stand mixer.
Add in the canned pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice all at once and mix until combined for a minute or so on medium low speed.
Pour the batter on top of the crust into the prepared crust. Tap and shake pan to release the air bubbles.
Start adding in the regular batter on top of the pumpkin batter using a 1/4 cup. Pour in various spots on top.
Use a knife or offset spatula and swirl. Use an up-down movement, across and then up-down again. You should get a beautiful marble look.
Tap and shake to release air bubbles.
Prepare a water bath. Fill a large pan, that you can fit the cake pan in with 5 or more cups of hot water. The water should come up at least 1/4 of the way up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325°F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and keep the cheesecake in there for about 10 minutes. The key is don't over-bake. Check at the 40 minute mark. The outer edge, 2" out should be firm and set, the center should be jiggly like jello, but if you touch it, not be liquid.
Remove from oven and let it cool to room temp.
Wrap well in saran wrap, making sure the wrap doesn't touch the surface of the cheesecake. Cover the pan in aluminum foil as well.
To unmold, run a hot knife around the sides of the cheesecake in one swift motion. Unmold with hot water, stove top or a blowtorch. See the video to see how it's done. Decorate as you please. Use a hot knife and wipe between each cut for a clean slice of cheesecake.
Use canned pumpkin (puree). NOT pumpkin pie mix. For unmolding, you'll need parchment paper and two cake boards. Hot water, a flame or a blowtorch are options to use for unmolding. You'll need a scale for this recipe. I also recommend a blowtorch for unmolding. Invest in these valuable tools. It's important to keep a cheesecake refrigerated at all times. The waterbath is important to achieve a perfectly baked cheesecake. Don't skip it!
This strawberry sauce is so versatile. You can use it to top ice cream, cheesecakes, cakes, and pretty much anything else you want. Though it’s not strawberry season at the moment, Spring and Summer is just around the corner, so we may as well get ready for it the right way. The sauce is delicious, but not overpowering like some may be. I’ll personally be using this sauce to make a tasty trifle. Watch out for that next week!
Start by placing some whole strawberries to the side. You’ll cut off the tops and slice these, but you won’t put them into your sauce until after it’s cooked. Cut off the tops and slice in half the rest of the berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar.
Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until thicker. Stir occasionally. A wooden spoon is best for this recipe.
Once it’s done cooking, it should look something like this.
Take off the heat and pour into a separate bowl. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix.
Blend with your immersion blender until desired thickness is reached. If you want it thinner, add in some water or lemon juice when in the cooking process. It will obviously be tarter if you go the lemon juice route. You can also strain it after you blend it and just add the liquid to some sliced berries and mix.
Enjoy with some ice cream, cheesecake or in a trifle, like I’ll be doing. Keep covered, refrigerated for up to a week.
See how I do it:
Cut the tops of the strawberries and slice them in half. Leave two whole berries to the side and slice them as well. Place in a saucepan along with the sugar. Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and pour into a seperate bowl. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix. Use a immersion blender to blend to the consistency you'd like. Enjoy! Refrigerate covered for up to a week.
Cut the tops of the strawberries and slice them in half. Leave two whole berries to the side and slice them as well. Place in a saucepan along with the sugar.
Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and pour into a seperate bowl.
Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix.
Use a immersion blender to blend to the consistency you'd like.
Refrigerate covered for up to a week.
Chocolate brownies with a cheesecake swirl. Does much more need to be said? This is one of the culinary combinations that just makes everything in the world alright. These things are so chocolatey and so rich. I mean Richie Rich type rich. These are most likely the easiest brownies you’ll ever make. I’m serious. I mean, no mixer to use and it’s basically a one pot recipe. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9″ square pan with foil and grease with pan spray.
To start the recipe, you’ll want to begin by melting the butter over medium low heat. Once the butter is fully melted, pour in the chocolate pieces and begin to melt it with medium low speed. I used semi-sweet chocolate from a good quality company. This is important. Use high quality chocolate! They came in the pistole forms, so there was no need for me to chop them up. If you get your chocolate from in the bar form, you’ll want to chop them up into smaller pieces before you melt them. You can use semi-sweet, dark chocolate or bitter-sweet.
Once the chocolate is melted. Take the pot off the heat and whisk in the sugar and mix for about a minute, vigorously. Let the mixture cool for about 10-15 minutes. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Let the egg absorb into the batter, before adding the next one. Sift in the cocoa, salt and the flour. Add in the vanilla and chocolate chips and fold in until the flour is absorbed. Don’t overmix.
Mix all the cream cheese ingredients together until combined. Make sure the sugar is dissolved.
Pour in the brownie batter into the pan and even it out with an off-set or rubber spatula. Dollop a teaspoon at a time, the cream cheese mixture spreading it out, so it’s not too close together. Swirl lightly with a butter knife.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is set. Let it cool in the pan before lifting it out.
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? It’s perfect anytime and it’s so versatile. Flavors vary from Oreo to pumpkin to red velvet. New flavors seem to be created on a daily basis. But if you’re not as adventurous, you can always come back home to the traditional. You can’t go wrong with the traditional cheesecake. A graham cracker crust, the creamy middle and the topping of strawberry puree. It’s so delicious and goes really well anytime, but especially in the spring or summer. This recipe is the one we used in class. The first time I tasted it, I felt like I was on cloud nine. The crust is slightly spiced, the middle is super creamy and light and of course the tartness and sweetness from the strawberries really goes well with the subtle cream cheese tang. If you’ve never made cheesecake, try this recipe and I guarantee you’ll never doubt your cheesecake skills again.
Before we begin, it’s vital that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you want a great cheesecake, starting with room temperature ingredients, will get you there.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease a 10″ springform pan. This recipe yields one cheesecake for a 10″ pan.
To begin, combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until it clumps together like wet sand when clinched in hands.
In a lightly greased spring form pan, press the crust into the bottom. Ensure the sides are covered and it’s pretty even throughout.
Begin by mixing the cream cheese on low until smooth and no lumps. Stop the mixer a couple of times to scrape.
Gradually add in the sugar. Scrape after mixing for a little bit. Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix for a little bit. Scrape. Begin to add in the eggs one at a time. Beat well between additions. Allow the egg to get absorbed before adding the next one. Also, I scrape between each addition. I also add the vanilla extract at this point. After mixing for a bit, it should look more liquid and smooth. Scrape the bowl and blade at this point. Use your hands to clean the blade off. Add in the sour cream, mix, scrape, add in the heavy cream slowly, mix, scrape, add in the lemon juice, scrape and mix. Keep the mixer on the lowest speed or second speed throughout this process. I can’t stress enough the importance of scraping throughout.
Place the batter in the pan on top of the crust. Place your pan into a 2″ pan or round pan. Pour 3 cups of hot water. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes to an hour. It took me about 45-50 minutes for this to finish.
It’ll bake for 40 minutes to an hour. The internal temperature should be 155°F. The best way to tell if it’s finished if it’s set around the sides, but jiggly in the middle. It should be firm to the touch in the middle, meaning it shouldn’t be liquid when you touch it.
Once out of the oven, remove from the 2″ pan and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the strawberry sauce, wash all the strawberries and cut them in half. Set aside 1/3 and cook the rest. Cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until it becomes thicker and more like a syrup.
Once it’s thicker, remove from the heat and move to a new container.
Add in the 1/3 uncooked strawberries and mix. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, have a pitcher of steaming hot water with a small offset or butter knife, a chef’s knife and a cake or pie server in it.
Using the offset or butter knife, unmold the cheesecake, top with the strawberry sauce, decorate (optional).
If topped with whip cream, serve within the first couple of days. Without whipped cream, you can serve it for up to a week. Keep refrigerated until serving time.