Each year I seem to tweak the recipe just a bit, so my current recipe is quite a bit different than the original recipe I began with all those years ago.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Candied Walnuts
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 Cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 24- 2" round cookies)
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or an equal amount of pure vanilla extract)
3 large fresh eggs
3/4 Cup canned pumpkin puree
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice [read how to make your own]
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and set a teakettle full of water to boil. Butter a 9" springform pan and wrap two layers of foil around the outside. Combine the butter and gingersnap crumbs and press into the bottom and partway up the sides of the pan. Chill until ready to use.
With a stand mixer on medium-low, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour half the batter into a medium bowl and set aside.
Into the remaining batter mix the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, molasses and spices. Set aside one cup of the pumpkin batter.
Spread half of the pumpkin batter over the crust. Top that with half the plain batter, then the remaining half of pumpkin batter and the remaining plain batter to make layers. Dot the reserved cup of pumpkin batter over the top and with a toothpick swirl the batters to create your design.
Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and fill the pan partway with boiling water, making sure not to fill above the foil. (The water bath will keep your cheesecake from splitting or cracking on top)
Bake for one hour and 20 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake jiggles only slightly when tapped. Remove from the oven and place on cooling rack. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and allow to cool. When cool, remove the side of the springform pan and chill several hours (or overnight) before serving. Decorate with candied walnuts (recipe follows below).
1 Cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST BETTER WITH CHICKENS!
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