Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
A few months ago, Bart caught a glimpse of a television show about Junior’s Cheesecake. He loved the idea of a sponge cake crust underneath cheesecake, and he has been anxiously awaiting his birthday so he can try the combination and see if it is as good as it sounds. Luckily, I received a collection of recipes from Junior’s Cheesecake for Christmas, so Bart was able to peruse the collection and make a selection. He chose this pumpkin swirl cheesecake. The cheesecake was creamy and smooth. It tasted like a really creamy pumpkin pie. The sponge cake crust made cutting and serving the cheesecake very easy. The crust is delicious, and its tender, airy texture blends perfectly with the cheesecake. I’m excited to try more recipes from this collection!
Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust
1/3 cup sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 extra-large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops pure lemon extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (I use 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil), covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick, light-yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.
Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.
Wash another mixing bowl and add the beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can prevent the egg whites from whipping). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks from (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one0third of the white into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.
Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or stick), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
1 recipe 9-inch Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust (see recipe above)
Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs--at room temperature
¾ cup heavy or whipping cream--at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)--at room temperature
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
1 recipe Decorator’s Whipped Cream (for garnish if desired)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make and bake the cake crust as directed above and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on. (Make sure outside of pan is wrapped well in aluminum foil.)
Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix.
Remove 1 ½ cups of the batter and set aside. On low speed, blend the pumpkin and the 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter. Gently spoon the pumpkin batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the white batter in small spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a “figure-8” design, just until white swirls appear.
Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top has golden and tan swirls, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away—don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Release and remove the sides of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle the rosettes with a little pumpkin pie spice if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
Decorator’s Whipped Cream
1 teaspoon unflavored granulated gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the gelatin in a heatproof measuring up, stir in the cold water, and let stand until it swells and thickens (this takes only about 1 minute). Cook the gelatin in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds or over a pan of simmering water for about 1 minutes, until clear and completely melted.
In a medium bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high until it thickens and soft peaks just begin to form. With the mixer still running, add the sugar and beat just until the cream stands up in peaks (don’t overmix or the cream will curdle). Beat in the vanilla. Now, add the melted gelatin all at once and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but not more than 1 hour. Use immediately as a cake filling or frosting or refrigerate.
To make whipped cream rosettes, fit a pastry bag with a large closed-star tip (#133) or large open-star tip (#199). Half-fill the bag with the whipped cream and pipe large rosettes all around the top or bottom edge of the cake. For smaller decorative stars and rosettes, use a medium star tip (such as #27, 31 or 35 for closed or #22 or 32 for open). The closed-star tips create deeper grooves and more details than the open-star ones, but both work fine. Put the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the decorations. Transfer to the refrigerator until time to serve.
Recipe Source: Junior's Cheesecakes