Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

(Adapted from Epicurious.com; originally published in Gourmet. Read all about it in the post, A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.)

Yield: Makes one nine-inch cheesecake.

Ingredients

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Technique

Make crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then lock on side.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high-speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping:
Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving. Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

Recipe Notes:
Evidently plain ‘ol graham crackers are either no longer made or in high demand. All I could find was honey graham, cinnamon graham, etc. Instead, I followed other reviewers’ suggestions to replace (in an equal amount) the graham crackers with gingersnaps. This adds a nice festive touch.

I blended together in a blender all of the filling ingredients. I recommend this as it gave the filling a very smooth texture. Blend the ingredients in several batches and then combine together for a final blending. I also tripled the bourbon amount and doubled the spice amounts.

I cooked the cheesecake in a water bath. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in a layer of heavy duty foil. Place the springform pan in another pan that is at least three inches wider, but not taller, than the springform pan, and add enough hot water to come up about one inch on the side of the springform pan.

I did not add the sour cream topping because: A) I was slightly concerned with the fat and calorie count by that point, and B) I didn’t feel like it. The cheesecake was fabulous without it. That’s all I’m saying.

One thought on “Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

  1. Pingback: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words | Sugar Talk

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