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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

With all the experimental baking I've done, I've never made cheesecake before. This is probably due, in part, to the fact that I don't like cheesecake. However, my husband DOES love cheesecake and when he came home with 3 giant cans of pumpkin pie mix instead of pure pumpkin puree, I checked out www.verybestbaking.com to see what I could use it for and decided on pumpkin cheesecake. I was really nervous about making the cheesecake because I always hear about how it didn't go well... cracked top, shrinking, etc. I read up on how to bake using a water bath (thanks Allrecipes!), and learned a few other tricks for mixing the batter properly. (Oh no! It says no over-mixing!!! This is by far my baking Achilles Heel.)

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that everything went REALLY well. No cracking (though if it did, I had that lovely topping to conceal it!), or any other funny business. I may be underbaked it a tiny bit. I didn't really let it chill the recommended amount of time before slicing, so that may have something to do with it, too. I modified the baking instructions based on what I read on allrecipes (listed in italics in the instructions). As I said, I'm not a cheesecake fan, so my husband was the only litmus test. I had planned on saving him two pieces, then bringing the rest to work. He refused to let me take it... so I'm thinking that means it was pretty darn good! Time to make room in the freezer!
Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

For the crust:
1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

For the pralines:
1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water

For the cheesecake:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 can (30 oz.) Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix

Preheat oven to 350° F.
For the crust:
Combine graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar in large bowl. Stir in butter. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

For pralines:
Combine nuts, brown sugar and water in same bowl. Reserve 3/4 cup praline mixture for topping. Sprinkle remaining praline mixture over crumbs in pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese in large bowl. Beat in brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Beat in eggs. Beat in pumpkin pie mix. Spoon over baked crust/nuts. Cover bottom of springform pan with foil to create a leakproof barrier for the water bath. Place springform pan into another, larger pan and place in the oven. Add boiling water to the larger pan to create the water bath. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but 2-3 inches of the center still moves slightly. Sprinkle with reserved praline mixture. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the very center moves slighty. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in, with door closed, for one hour. Run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan, slice and serve.


Anonymous said...

WOW! That is all I can say...that looks AMAZING!

Bridget said...

It looks like you chose a somewhat unusual recipe for your first cheesecake. 8 ounces of cream cheese is about 1/3 to 1/4 of what most recipes call for. It looks like the recipe calls for a ton of cornstarch to make up for the lack of structure that cream cheese provides. Interesting. Looks good though!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I don't care WHAT the recipe is like...it looks amazing! And shoot, less cream cheese = less calories, so it's a winner in my book! The total drool-worthiness of it doesn't hurt either. ;)

Kelsey said...

Mission accomplished! Way to be, TPOX!!

That Girl said...

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you canned pumpkin pie, you obviously make cheesecake.

~Amber~ said...

Hello beautiful cheesecake! I bet that tasted amazing!

Sophie said...

I always find it difficult to let a tasty dessert like this cool before I dive into it :D.

Colleen said...

This is like three great Thanksgiving desserts rolled into one - pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and cheesecake!

Anonymous said...

Now that looks fantastic! I can't believe I've never made a real cheesecake. I need to hop to it and make this one!