My roommates and I have been in a pumpkin phase for the past couple weeks. It's that time of year where when you eat a dessert (or anything really) you want it to taste like fall. We've had pumpkin cake, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin lattes, and there are even quite a few carved pumpkins sitting outside my door. I love it.
So since we're on the pumpkin kick, pumpkin cheesecake was the lucky choice for a dinner party.
And by dinner party, I mean the ultimate dinner party. One of my friends, Hunter, can do some magic in the kitchen. He works in one of the best restaurants in town as a chef and has also cooked some in New Orleans. All that to say, his food is incredible. It's been one of my goals for the year to somehow get him to cook for me because his food is that impressive. We finally made plans for last night and so it happened. We called up our friends, got every one to chip in some $, and feasted on pork tenderloin with some exquisite roasted tomato topping and rosemary mashed potatoes (request of Bobby). For dessert- pure pumpkin cheesecake!
Of course when making cheesecake you have to start the day before so that there's enough time for it to chill in the fridge. I made my grocery list and was proud because I only had to get 2 ingredients! High five for a stocked kitchen. I came back home, got the rest of the ingredients out, and proceeded to make the cheesecake.
The crust was part 1 and it ended up being particularly delicious. It's made with gingersnap cookies, toasted pecans, brown sugar, and butter. Half way through making it I realized that I forgot my cheesecake rule: always double the crust. I didn't have enough pecans to double it so I just continued without the extra layer.
But as I spread the crust over the pan, I realized that it wasn't quite covering it all the way. What was I doing wrong?
It was the wrong pan size. I needed a 9" spring form and this was a 10". I tore apart my kitchen twice looking for the 9" but it was determined not to be found. So then I was left with the options of continuing to make the cheesecake without crust on the sides, make the crust on the sides with almonds instead of pecans, or go back to the grocery store to get more pecans. If you know me at all then you have no doubt in what I decided. Back to wal-mart it was. My 2 ingredient, easy shopping list was laughing in my face now.
Yesterday, I finished up the cake by making the caramel drizzle that goes on top. I swear every time I make the stuff the same thing happens. Here's the process:
Batch 1: use the nonstick skillet rather than a saucepan so that the caramel doesn't stick and so clean up is easier.
Result: It doesn't cook even enough, the caramel burns, and I throw it away.
Batch 2: use the small saucepan and take it off the heat when it hits the right temperature.
Result: the temperature continues to rise after it's off the heat and it burns. At this point I usually burn a finger, get mad, and open a bottle of wine.
Batch 3: small saucepan again (after working hard to get the hardened, burned caramel out of it) but this time with the stove set barely above simmer. I took it off the heat 10 degrees before just to be safe.
Seriously. This happens every single time. Don't believe me? Check out the Karmel Cake or the Mud Turtle Cupcakes. I have got to learn my lessons better.
But the end product was worth it. The majority of my friends have tried almost every cake I've made in the past few months and they said it was seriously the best one yet. The caramel on top was a delicious addition and the pumpkin in the middle wasn't too strong or too weak. It was the perfect combination of flavors and now I'm kind of glad that I made 10 inches of it rather than 9! I might even make it again for my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas!