Published November 1, 2003.
Some 30 cheesecakes later--that's more than 11,000 grams of fat and 150,000 calories--we find a clever way to take pumpkin cheesecake from heavy and sodden to creamy and velvety.
Those who suffer from pumpkin pie ennui embrace pumpkin cheesecake as "a nice change," but the expectations are low. Undoubtedly, pumpkin cheesecake can be good in its own right, though, as proven by a half-dozen recipes, it rarely is. The tendency was for extremes in texture-dry, dense, chalky cakes or wet, soft, mousse-like ones. Flavors veered from far too cheesy and tangy to pungently overspiced to noxiously sweet to totally bland. Merely mixing a can of pumpkin into a standard cheesecake didn't work; the texture was amiss (leaden and sloppy) and the pumpkin flavor thwarted. And then there were soggy, greasy crumb crusts.
A creamy pumpkin cheesecake with a velvety smooth texture that tasted of sweet, earthy pumpkin as well as tangy cream cheese, that struck a harmonious spicy chord, and, of course, that had a crisp, buttery, cookie-crumb crust.
For a smooth and creamy texture, blot canned pumpkin puree with paper towels to remove excess moisture, then mix with heavy cream, white sugar (not brown, which can overpower the pumpkin flavor), whole eggs, vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and a blend of spices. Bake in a water bath in a moderate oven and then top with bourbon and brown-sugar-laced whipped cream.list of recipes