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Bake It So - 2010
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Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The original recipe calls for whipped cream and chopped pecans topping each slice as served. Since I wouldn't be there for the slicing I came up with the idea to add a topper of lightly sweetened and flavored mascarpone cheese--since it is made from cream. I added vanilla for flavoring and then used candied pecans to complete the recipe and make for a pretty presentation. Easy enough for someone to remove the pecans if they aren't interested and the candied pecans make for a nice crunch and a little added sweetness instead of raw or only toasted pecans.

Wow! I would love to make this for us, but we have too many desserts and sweets floating around our house right now. Before the fall season is over though I will definitely need this recipe to try out.

Love the idea with the mascarpone. Yummy!
Ames   Saturday, October 9, 2010
Here's the recipe, Ames. I hate the bother of water baths for cheesecakes. Instead I lower the temperature to 300 and bake it slower. Takes longer but you get a really creamy texture. When there is a slight jiggly in the center, I turn off the oven and let the cheesecake finish as the oven cools. Usually an hour is sufficient for that but this one got done so late I just left it in the oven and went to bed. I got up around 4 and put it in the fridge to "age". Cheesecakes are best when they have at least 4 hours in the fridge after they cool. I think the mascarpone was inspiration--much easier to transport one like that and everyone gets a little "whipped cream" with their pumpkin. The pecans are a great candied pecan I find at Trader Joe's. Not nauseatingly sweet but nice and crunchy. Pretty too.

Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 9 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 2 hr 45 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 12 servings

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar (19 1/4 oz)

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (4 blocks)
1/4 cup sour cream (2 1/4 oz)
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups sweetened whipped cream (17 oz)
1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.

Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.
LGrant   Saturday, October 9, 2010
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