Sometimes, a cheesecake comes along and it brings a tear to your eye. This is that cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake.
I ate every bite of this cheesecake with an obnoxious smug on my face. I couldn’t wipe it off even if I wanted to because my hands were busy shoveling forkfuls of cheesecake into my mouth. If I could, I would have an out-of-body experience and kiss my own forehead for bringing this cheesecake into the world. I’ll admit it, behind the scenes of this blog, when I’ve made a terrible cake, an even worse cookie, and a completely inedible pie. This is not one of those recipes. Make it. Make it now.
So you’re probably wondering where this cheesecake affair derived from. Last week, I made a recipe for black and white cookies for Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker. Washington Irving is a big hit with me right now as he makes his second appearance on The Baker in the Rye for his novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The town is known for a strange ghost who rides by the church. It is strange because the ghost is that of a Revolutionary War soldier who lost his head in battle. His headless body is often seen at night, riding on horseback by the church.
The reader follows Sleepy Hollow’s newcomer, Ichabod Crane, as he pines over the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod isn’t the only one interested in Katrina’s flirtatious ways. She has also gained the attention of village hero, Brom Van Brunt. Brom is notorious for scaring off any man interested in Katrina, but Ichabod doesn’t flee as easily. However, Katrina shows little interest in Ichabod at a party at her home. Ichabod leaves, displeased. As he walks home, he spots the ghost of Sleepy Hollow and engages in a horserace of sorts. But alas, it’s hard to outride a ghost and as Ichabod pays little attention to the Headless Horseman’s warning to leave. The Headless Horseman throws his detached head at Ichabod, which knocks him off his horse.
The next day, Ichabod’s horse returns to the farm without Ichabod. A search party is sent out, but all they find is Ichabod’s hat lying next to a smashed pumpkin. Ichabod is never heard from or seen again, leaving Brom free to marry Katrina. The smashed pumpkin can symbolize many things in this novel. It symbolizes the end of a romance for Katrina and Ichabod, the turmoil between Ichabod and Brom for Katrina’s hand in marriage, and also a warning to the town to keep away from the ghost. But for me, it symbolizes pumpkin cheesecake.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is now The Legend of Pumpkin Cheesecake. Ever have the horrible predicament that forced you to choose between cheesecake and pumpkin pie? That predicament is no more! Do you feel the freedom? What makes this cheesecake over the top, is its Sweetzel’s spice wafer crust foundation and its bourbon chocolate ganache coat that just hugs this cake to delicious pieces.
Ingredients for Crust:
2 Cups of Sweetzel’s Spiced Wafers
3 Tablespoons of white sugar
1 Stick of butter, melted
- Crush Sweetzel’s Spiced Wafers in a food processor until the cookies resemble sand.
- Add sugar and melted butter, and mix until ingredients are well combined. Push the crust down in the bottom of a springform pan.
Ingredients for Filling:
3- 8 Ounce packages of cream cheese
1 Cup of pumpkin puree
3 Eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 Teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 baking sheet or large pan that can hold about 1 1/2 inches of water
2+ Cups of water
- Preheat oven to 35o degree fahrenheit.
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Then, add in pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk and sour cream. Once mixed, add sugar, spices, flour, and vanilla extract.
- Beat until the mixture is lump-free.
- Pour into crust and spread mixture evenly in springform pan.
- Place your cheesecake into a baking sheet that can hold about 1 1/2 inches of water. Then add enough water to come up the sides about 1 1/2 inches. Place this into the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Once the cheesecake is firm on the edges, but jiggles like jell-o in the center, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. This, as well as the water bath, will ensure that there is no cracking.
- Let cool overnight in the refrigerator.
Ingredients for the Bourbon Chocolate Ganache:
8- 1 Ounce squared of semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 Tablespoon, or so, of bourbon. I used 2 tablespoons, but this can be left out entirely.
1/2 Cup of heavy cream
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and heavy cream together.
- Once mixture is smooth, add in bourbon.
- Spread over cooled cheesecake and let sit for 1 hour in refrigerator, before serving